Quick Hit: Terrible. Just terrible.
Movie monsters (and most horror films in general) have a couple things in common. One – horror movies tend to have rules. They don’t have to be explicitly spelled out to the audience (more on that in a moment), but they have to be clear, concise, and easy to follow. Occasionally in horror series, you get to see that there are opportunities to turn the rules upside down – like when Freddy gives to attack people outside of their dreams. The second is this – most monsters need some kind of back story – or at least a reason to be frightening.
The Bye Bye Man is none of those things. The Bye Bye Man is a complete and utter waste of your time. The Bye Bye Man makes me want to say “The Bye Bye Man” within twenty minutes of the movies start just to get out of the boredom that is The Bye Bye Man.
I have a lot of problems with this movie, the first of which that is doesn’t make any sense. The opening is fine, with a gun wielding 70s straight-laced type, but after that it delves into a confusing mythology that never even attempts to make sense. For instance, this dude (yes, the Bye Bye Man – how many times do you think I can write that in this post) shows up and leaves coins. Why? No one knows, or even attempts to. He has a CGI’d devil hound that eats people? Why? Haven’t a clue. He also foreshadows his arrival with a train. Is there a reason for it, besides trains are cool and I’m sure that there is at least one person who is afraid of Thomas out there? Doubtful.
There’s also the fact that the score is essentially not there, outside of train whistles. Sometimes horror movies use the lack of sound to build tension – here, it just feels like they just forgot. The design of the Bye Bye Man himself isn’t bad, until he takes his hood off. What you can see is always less scary than what you can’t – at least in this case. The actors are also really bad, and I’m unsure of why it would be so hard to be in this role. After all, ninety percent of this script seems to be the words “Don’t say it, don’t think it” – how hard could it be to repeat that for ninety minutes. I also really don’t understand the choice to have it make the girl sick – like with a cold. Not even like a vomiting pea soup thing, which is really disappointing.
I also have to mention that Bye Bye features what may be the most boring climax final boss interaction ever. It consists of him laying a finger on the forehead of a guy. Like in a "hey, how you doin" kind of way. How stupid.
The Bye Bye Man is also a blatant merger of two much superior horror movies from recent years: The Babadook and It Follows. The comparison to Babadook is pretty easy – dark character that likes its own name, and It Follows is even more blatant – it’s a monster that is passed from person to person. But they essentially scrubbed this film of anything else that could make it interesting like those films, and so we’re left with a film that has nothing in it but a name.
So I’m going to just say “Bye Bye” to The Bye Bye Man and hopefully never see it again. “F”, in each and every way.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"