Review by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTOR: Stacy Title
CINEMATOGRAPHY: James Kniest
WRITER: Jonathan Penner
MUSIC: The Newton Brothers
If I never hear “don’t think it, don’t say it” ever again, it’ll be too soon. “The Bye Bye Man” is a generic, run-of-the-mill horror film with a PG-13 rating that takes away any daring chances the movie could have taken. Still, those high school kids in the audience sure were happy, the naive little souls that they are, screaming at every predictable scare the film tried to muster up.
Three friends move into an old house to get out of their dorms in college. The two “bros” have been friends for life and the main guy, Elliot (Douglas Smith), is dating Sasha (Cressida Bonas), the third person living in the house. It seems like the ideal setting and nothing could go wrong, right?
Well, Elliot eventually pulls out a shelf that goes to an old counter. Inside the shelf, the surface is covered in writing saying the film’s infamous tagline, “Don’t think it, don’t say it.” Elliot pulls out the rotting paper to find the name Bye Bye Man carved inside. Now that the monster is in his head and he’s told his friends about it, they are all haunted by the mysterious monster.
That’s all you really need to know, apparently. The friends are your generic cardboard cutouts, the villain has a disturbing looking hellhound created with terrible CGI and he seems to have a thing for trains. The problem is that nothing about the Bye Bye Man is even remotely explained.
It also doesn’t help that the Bye Bye Man is a horribly unoriginal design. A mysterious hooded figure is nothing new and, unsurprisingly, not scary at all. Even in some of the worst horror films that I’ve seen, there is at least one jump scare that gets me, but there is absolutely nothing to be found in this dumpster fire of a film.
The only thing that is scary in this movie are the performances. Smith plays Elliot and looks like he had just left the audition for “Mr. Robot”. Just when the producers were thinking he almost fits the part, Rami Malek comes in and blows them all away with actual acting talent. Yes, I’m saying that Smith is the poor man’s Malek.
Even so, the worst performance for this flick has to go to Bonas as Sasha. Early on in the film, she starts to catch what may be a cold or the evil influence of the Bye Bye Man, but that really doesn’t matter. What does matter is her monotonous and completely wooden delivery of her line, not doing anything that even remotely resembles a half-way decent performance.
There is a point in the movie where she literally says “achoo” to act out a cough. I wanted to punch the air and even this caused a few of the high school kids to unintentionally chuckle. I’ll be honest and say that I couldn’t wait for her to die.
I’m honestly struggling to find something positive to say about this movie. The Bye Bye Man himself is completely unoriginal, there is zero humor to counterbalance the fact that there is zero horror, the performances are terrible and the ending is atrociously predictable. I’m safe to say that this is easily one of the worst films I’ve ever seen.