So many January films, so little time. In January, most of my reviews were of Oscar quality films, trying to catch up before the Awards ceremony of everything that would be nominated. So I missed a lot of January releases, and to be fair, a lot of them didn’t even have prescreenings.
The Bye Bye Man had a prescreening, it just wasn’t worth me leaving my house for.
January horror films can be some of the worst things to sit through. For some unknown reason, they really want to make January the second scariest movie after October. They really don’t have to try that hard though, given the quality of the movies that come out in that month.
It would be hard to find someone that isn’t scared of how bad things like I, Frankenstein are.
Yeah, still not as scary as The Legend of Hercules.
A long time ago, some weirdo with a rifle decided to kill his friends and family in a small suburb, then he killed himself. He kept saying “Don’t Think It, Don’t Say It.”
Now lets fast forward to the now times. A group of kids in college, ready to take over the world. We got Elliot (Douglas Smith), his girlfriend Sasha (Cressida Bonas), and their friend John (Lucien Laviscount). They get a house together off campus, you know, for college things.
Eventually, Elliot starts seeing some weird things occur with a coin they find in a night stand. This night stand is something they just bought in a sale and brought over to furnish the place. It is full of strange writing, erratic, “Don’t Think It, Don’t Say It,” like a crazy person.
Blah blah blah, a seance happens in their place, from another friend (Jenna Kanell), and things get even more trippy. The friends start to hallucinate, thinking of this Bye Bye Man fellow (Doug Jones), with a dog, and train sounds. Just acknowledging his existence is enough to get him to mess with your life, and so the more people you talk to about him, the more people who will die or get killed. Hooray!
This part is amusing if you imagine Abe Sapien from Hellboy coming at you instead.
You know what, if I was just analyzing the plot, or the acting, or the characters themselves, this would be an easy 0 out of 4. But I was intrigued by one, and only one aspect of the movie. The camera work was top notch. The opening scene really sort of drew the viewer in, with a few longer takes, having this random guy take a rifle and shoot his family and neighbors.
I really enjoyed the opening, which had a tragic moment happen in the bright sunlight, it felt fresh. And when it got modern, the film got darker. More scenes took place at night, or with tinted lenses to really give that…modern edgy look or whatever to them. Because now we are dealing with college students, living on their own, party party! The film got notably uglier, but the camera work was still pretty decent from my point of view.
And yet, that is the only positive notes. As I already said, plot bad, acting bad, characters bad. Tone was bad too. Mythos for The Bye Bye Man was all over the place. It really made writing the whole movie quite easy when you can just say the characters hallucinate whatever with extreme detail to get them to do anything. It feels lazy.
Also our star, Douglas Smith? Honestly, he has such an uncharismatic face, it is annoying to watch him for most of this film. Which is mean. I don’t hate you as a person Douglas Smith, but you don’t match the role that you were given.
This film is an easy pass, but it will probably have thirty sequels, because YOLO.