There are particular types of horror films nowadays that all seem the same. They are the MTV flashy, hollow messes and they all lack a certain something, something. The Bye Bye Man is one of those films. The concept, a mysterious monster that hunts down whoever says his name is pretty neat, but the film doesn’t bother to explain the origin of the creature. The film also lacks in the acting department, and the ending falls completely flat. Was there anything good, though? One scene looks cool near the end, Doug Jones is The Bye Bye man, plus the music by The Newton Brothers was interesting. Yeah, if that’s it, things aren’t looking great for The Bye Bye Man.
Three friends stumble upon the horrific origins of a mysterious figure they discover is the root cause of the evil behind unspeakable acts.
The idea behind The Bye Bye Man is sort of cool. Based on the chapter “The Bridge to Body Island” in Robert Damon Schneck‘s book The President’s Vampire, the movie starts off great with a cameo by Leigh Whannell taking care of some business in 1969. We jump ahead to the present, and we are introduced to our three main characters, Elliot, John and Sasha. The three are moving in together in a nearby house, and it doesn’t take long before Elliot finds the name The Bye Bye Man on a piece of furniture and the shit hits the fan.
The film takes this compelling concept and manages to squander any good vibes by forgetting to explain anything. They keep hinting at concepts about The Bye Bye Man but don’t bother doing anything fresh with the character. They talk about a mysterious train, coins, and a deadly hound, but not once do they bother explaining them. What the hell does everything mean?
The acting is another thing that makes trying to like the movie tough. Cressida Bonas, who plays Sasha, may be easy on the eyes, but yeesh, the lady needs to head back to acting class. Not once did I feel like she was giving her all. She performs as though she is going on 1 hour of sleep for the past week. One tone through every line. At least Carrie Annes Moss’ one-minute performance isn’t too bad.
The fact that The Bye Bye Man can manipulate people’s minds and make them see and hear things is a neat idea. The film could have taken that idea and ran with it, but it never does. A stronger idea would have been to make the events of the movie seems like one big hallucination, having the viewer questioning whether what they are seeing is happening. Sadly, the film does not go that route but instead falls back on the tired traits of the lazy MTV horror flicks.
VVS Films has released The Bye Bye Man on Blu-ray in Canada, with a solid enough transfer and audio performance in both English and French. I noticed some issues with shadows having a blocky look. The film has almost 10 minutes of Behind the Scenes, but nothing else. Not a packed Blu-ray, but not completely barebones either.
Honestly, I would be willing to give The Bye Bye Man another chance if they made a sequel. I would like for them to strengthen the monster’s background and go all out with the hallucinations. They need to play with the audience, and the ideas are there to do it. As for this movie, it’s worth checking out at least once, but you’ll probably never watch it again. Nevertheless, if you were a fan of the flick, the VVS Films Blu-ray is the perfect way to watch the film.