"The Bye Bye Man" is about three college idiots who move into an old, decrepit house and discover the secrets behind a hooded entity simply known as the Bye Bye Man. The only way to avoid this mysterious figure is to not say or think his name, or else he comes to kill you and that's that. This movie is directed by a woman by the name of Stacy Title and the script is written by her husband....so they clearly got out the big guns for this movie.
Look, we all know the January procedure by now. Most if not all of the new releases in the month are going to suck big time. Does "The Bye Bye Man" suck? Hell yes, there's no beating around the bush on this one. The bummer is that despite every possible January horror film in the past being complete garbage, I actually liked the concept for this movie. The idea of a mysterious presence haunting someone by means of getting inside their heads could make for a great psychological thriller. I've always wanted to see something like that done with a Slender Man movie, but I figured this movie could be the next best thing, right? Nope, dead fucking wrong.
All of the bad stuff in this movie is fairly standard for your average shitty horror movie, so let's just go ahead and jump into it. First off, the acting is, at best, laughable. The main character, Elliot, just comes off as some mopey, confused teen who can't even read the simplest lines without sounding majorly depressed. But the worst of it is that he's not the worst performance in this movie. That distinction goes to the actress playing a character named Sasha. Good God, it's been a while since I've seen a performance that's actually more wooden than what you'd see in a run down middle school play, but here it is with actress Cressida Bonas. Even more professional actresses like Carrie-Anne Moss and Faye Dunaway are in this movie and to their credit, they're really trying to make something out of their roles. The problem is that they've been given a nepotism-branded script.
Another problem with this movie is that the given mythology behind the Bye Bye Man makes less sense the more you think about it. The concept is that if you say or think his name, he comes to stalk and eventually kill you. Simple enough, but the movie also establishes that he apparently thrives off of people going around killing anyone who's familiar with the legend of the Bye Bye Man. So what's his end game here? Why does he personally need to kill people himself if he apparently has the psychological power of getting in people's heads and making them kill others for him? Why does he even need to show up? Can't he just stay hidden in the shadows while all of his dirty work is done by other people? And why does he pal around with a dog made of absolutely terrible CGI? Christ, a horror movie shouldn't make your head hurt this much.
As far as it being a horror movie goes, it can't even deliver anything beyond stock jump scares and cliches galore. There's the cliche of someone's eyes going all black to signify that they're possessed, there's the cardboard cutout characters who act all cool and jocky to impress the dumb blonde, and the movie is even insulting enough to throw in cheap scares like the mirror scare where someone closes a mirror and the monster is standing behind them in the reflection. Come on, movie, at least try for something original. I'm not asking you to be the next "Insidious" for God's sake, just do something other than a loud noise bursting out at the characters.
In the end, "The Bye Bye Man" is pure horror garbage. This is the exact type of movie we think of when we hear the title "January horror movie". It's lazy, poorly acted, sloppily written, and completely devoid of any legitimate scares or pieces of ingenuity to add to the horror genre. As much as this joke has already been done, it bears repeating; the movie's tagline may be "Don't say it, don't think it" but I have a much better one: Don't see it.
Rating: Fuck You!