Saying that I didn’t enjoy this film would be to lenient and purposefully dishonest. I hated this film. Bye Bye Man was next to unwatchable due to how boring it is. The premise is ok, but that’s all this film is, a premise. Who or what The Bye Bye Man is or how he came to be is never even brought up. Which might not matter for some, but it really matters for me.
In 1969 journalist Larry Redmond (Leigh Whannell) goes on a shooting spree. He asks his victims if they’ve mentioned “The Name” and to who if they did, as he kills everyone that has heard the name he continuously repeats “Don’t say it. Don’t think it”. His spree ends with him taking his own life.
Modern day, Elliot (Douglas Smith) along with his girlfriend Sasha (Cressida Bonas) and his best friend John (Lucien Laviscount) move into an off campus house. Once they move in strange events start to occur. Sasha develops a persistent cough, while Elliot finds coins on the nightstand table. Eventually while looking around the house, which came fully furnished, Elliot comes across a nightstand. Inside the drawer is the phrase “Don’t think it, Don’t say it” written over and over and carved into back corner is the name The Bye Bye Man. After this the creepiness of the house increases until Sasha convinces Elliot to host a seance led by their friend Kim (Jenna Kanell). During the seance Elliot mentions the name, infecting everyone in the room. As it turns out knowing the name allows the Bye Bye Man to influence your mind. Things begin to deteriorate quickly as Elliot looks into the history of the drawer and into the Bye Bye Man. Elliot goes to Kim for help, which she agrees to do. Though by help I mean intended to pull a Larry and kill everyone that’s heard the name. But she runs in front a train trying to help a hallucination. Elliot gets questioned by the police about this, and find him more than a little shady. After being released Elliot goes the library to hunt down the former own of the drawers, where learns about Larry and Larry’s living wife. Wondering how she has managed to survive the influence of the Bye Bye Man for so long, he goes to see her. But the answer she has aren’t the answers he hopes for…
I can’t think of a single aspect of this film that wasn’t ineptly done. From the acting, to the writing the whole film is weak. Underwhelming isn’t even close to my feelings here. The Bye Bye Man barley functions as a horror film due to the tedium it forces on its viewers.
The acting is simply terrible and not in a cute, enjoyable way that makes the film watchable. The kind that makes the films run time drag out for what feels like an eternity. The only actor to do a good job was Michael Trucco, who plays Elliot’s older brother Virgil. He along with Erica Tremblay, who plays his daughter Alice are probably the best part of this film. The one time the horror worked for me was during the film’s climax and it worked in large part to these two’s performances.
The films pacing is brutally slow. It’s 93 minute run time stretches out for what feel like forever as your wait for anything to happen. The threat is often talked about, but never comes off as threatening. The drama always comes off to cold and the frights never hit the mark. The mood will try to shift and move but comes across as sloppy and ill-conceived.
Final thoughts, this film took the wind out of me folks. I love horror films, I can’t really describe my level of disappointment. This is what passes as a major release horror film? So often I’m upset when I see a horror film and regret not seeing it in theatres while I had the chance. Here I’m upset that I didn’t let this one pass. 2/10