Tuesday, 17 January 2017

'The Bye Bye Man' Review

'The Bye Bye Man' is the latest horror film that looks to frighten the life out of cinema goers. With a ridiculous title like that, you'd maybe think that this would be a hilariously bad attempt at a horror movie. In saying that, 'The Bye Bye Man' is a lot worse than its title would suggest.

The Bye Bye Man is a mysterious entity that forces many people to do unthinkable things including murder. If you hear his name he comes after you. If you think about him, he grows stronger. Unluckily for three college students, their new house contains a nightstand that unleashes The Bye Bye Man, bringing terror to the three young adults.

2016 was a great year for horror movies as we had the likes of 'The Witch' and Don't Breathe' bringing new, creative, interesting stories to the genre. 'The Bye Bye Man' actually looks to do the same, bringing a new mysterious paranormal entity to horror. The introduction of 'The Bye Bye Man' accompanied by his demonic dog who shows up once he has been mentioned - a la Candyman - could be an interesting new icon to the genre. Unfortunately, this villain is handled awfully in this movie. The film completely skips out on giving the entity any sort of backstory, leaving the audience clueless to the origin of the character and fails to make clear what The Bye Bye Man's abilities actually are. The film used the tagline 'Don't Think It, Don't Say It' a lot in the marketing showing that he comes into your life once his name is said or he is thought of. This is fine, except to start off the film breaks that rule. There's no reason for The Bye Bye Man to first start doing mischevious things as quite frankly, nobody knows he exists. By order of The Bye Bye Man's rules which include him getting stronger as he is thought of more, he shouldn't be able to do anything at all meaning that the film has a huge problem before the film gets into the main story. 

What doesn't help is that the character has an abundance of abilities that are rather odd and unexplained. 'The Bye Bye Man' is able to be in multiple places at once, cause hallucinations, spread disease, make you want to murder, make you want to say his name and even interact with you himself by touching you with his long pointy fingers although the effects on these abilities differ. The character himself is portrayed by Doug Jones who has done fantastic character work in the past, with highlights being his association to Guillermo Del Toro movies 'Pans Labyrinth' and 'Hellboy'. Jones has displayed great work in the past and knows how to get the best out of a character. Unfortunately for him, the writing in this film is so laughably bad that not only does it affect him and the rest of the cast but the entire movie too.

The writing in this film ultimately gives the film very little chance of succeeding. Not only is the concept handled poorly, but the story and dialogue are too. Like in many terrible horror movies, the decisions made by our protagonists are stupid as the characters are made to be unlikeable, giving you absolutely no reason to care about them or want them to succeed. There's also a scene where Elliot is driving along and suddenly starts screaming a song on the radio for reason unknown - maybe it's another Bye Bye Man power. Again, this provides the film with another comedy moment. Problem is, this isn't a comedy and Smith is left looking like a complete fool. There are many scenes like this throughout the film where it is hard to believe that it made it into the film. You will be thinking to yourself about what went on at the studio meetings when talking about the script and how nobody thought some of these scenes would be completely wrong and awful for any movie in general. As for the dialogue, there are many moments when a shot will be showing you exactly what is going on, yet the character will still look to narrate his/her actions out loud. The dialogue is simply not how people would speak to one another which once again leads to moments where you can't help but laugh. The writer of the film Jonathan Penner even puts himself into the film as a florist named Mr Daizy. Yes, this is the standard of writing in this film.

Now a lot of blame in this movie can be placed on the cast in this film as well. The three college students are simply awful in this movie, there's no denying it. Douglas Smith plays the lead character Elliot in what will definitely be one of the year's worst performances with his facial expressions and reactions to the ongoings being so bad it was hard not to laugh at.  Fortunately for Smith, he was accompanied by Lucien Laviscount and Cressida Bonas who chip with equally terrible performances. Bonas' fake sneezes were a particular highlight in the film which will bring you a chuckle, a cringe or an eye roll. There are many hilarious moments in this film that simply come from the performances alone as the cast will hope to not be associated with this feature for years to come. This can only be a learning step for these young actors who will certainly need to redeem themselves after this atrocity to film. Carrie-Anne Moss and Faye Dunaway are sadly in this movie too but thankfully they aren't in the film enough for it to do too much damage to their reputations.

To top it all off, as a horror film, 'The Bye Bye Man' does everything wrong when it comes to a horror film. The film doesn't try to use anything other than jump scares and loud noises to try and scare the viewer in one of the laziest examples of horror filmmaking in recent years. Due to this, the film simply isn't scary at all. The film fails to create tense atmosphere's where you can feel a scare about to come. However, it is so by the numbers and predictable that nothing exciting or remotely scary happens. This is a big problem with horror movies as no creativity went into 'The Bye Bye Man' whatsoever. And that is the most disappointing and infuriating part of the movie. This is a clear example of putting a terrible movie together in hope to make a quick easy money.

'The Bye Bye Man' truly is an awful movie. It's only January but this will be a contender for the worst film of the year. The film fails on all aspects, the directing, script, acting and effects are all laughably bad. There are no good scares as this film is funnier than it is scary. This is a film that you could watch with a group of friends and have a laugh with. This isn't something that you should waste your money on seeing at the cinema as you will just be disappointed. Don't think it, Don't see it.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'The Bye Bye Man'? If so, what did you think of the movie? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie. I highly recommend that you stay away from this one. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

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