The Bye Bye Man
the bye bye man | stacy title | jonathan penner | douglas smith | lucien laviscount | cressida bonas | thriller | united states | monster | curse | leigh whannell | michael trucco | erica tremblay | jenna kanell | doug jones | faye dunaway | carrie-anne moss | cleo king
Film: The Bye Bye Man
Director: Stacy Title
Writer: Jonathan Penner
Starring: Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount and Cressida Bonas
This film begins back in 1969. A man pulls up to a house and gets out of the car, he is played by Leigh Whannell. He goes up to the door and knocks. A woman answers and he asks if she has told anyone his name. She states that she has and she slams and locks the door. Whannell goes back to his car and takes out a shotgun. He shoots the door, creating a hole and reaches in to open it. He kills the woman. He sees her husband, who is wheelchair bound and on the ground. He then goes across the street, chasing two women.
We then shift to the present. We have a couple, played by Douglas Smith and Cressida Bonas, and his best friend, played by Lucien Laviscount. They are looking at a house that they are going to live in. The three of them all go to a local college and have a great rapport together. The house they are looking at hasn’t been lived in for quite some time, is rundown and the original furniture is in the basement.
They throw a housewarming party and Smith’s family shows up. We learn that his mother and father passed away in a car accident. His brother is protective over him, played by Michael Trucco. His wife is played by Marisa Echeverria and they have a daughter played by Erica Tremblay. She goes up to Smith and Bonas’ room and finds a coin by a nightstand. She puts it on the stand and it falls again as she walks away. She also checks out a mini-closet and the one on the other side of the room opens. A dog like head pokes out of another one on the opposite side of the room. Before her and family leave that night, she tells Smith about the coin and what she did. He thanks her.
Smith checks it out and finds the coin she is referring to. He puts it into the drawer and it falls out of the back somehow. He takes the drawer out and looks at it. Inside is the writing, over and over again saying ‘Don’t Say It, Don’t Think It’. He rips it out and finds underneath it the name ‘The Bye Bye Man’. Bonas invited a friend from English class to the party; she is played by Jenna Kanell. She claims to be sensitive to psychic things. Laviscount is kind of a player and he takes a liking to her. They hold a séance that night and Kanell is freaked out by what she learns. Everyone else is skeptical of her, but she does know Smith’s history and everyone convinces him that they didn’t tell her. He tries an experiment by hiding keys, but when she is right, he still doesn’t believe her.
Later that night Smith hears scratching outside as well as thinking he sees something inside of his coat on the hanger across the room.
The following morning Laviscount takes Kanell home and she invites him in. He freaks out when he sees maggots in her hair. When he gets back home, all he does is compliment Bonas. She also sees him naked when he is supposed to be in the shower. Was it real or just her imagination? She also seems to be coming down with a cold.
The three of them start to hallucinate and become fearful of each other. Smith starts to suspect that Laviscount and Bonas are seeing each other behind his back. Laviscount does seem interested in her and Bonas gets worse with her cold. Smith starts to see a tall, slender man played by Doug Jones. He is also accompanied by a monstrous looking dog as well.
Smith starts to look into this, but can’t find anything on it. His search leads him to the school library where he is helped by Cleo King. There is a hidden story about Whannell and what he did back in 1969. His widow, played by Faye Dunaway, is still alive and knows something. The problem is the more people he tells, the stronger Jones becomes. Can he find a way to stop the Bye Bye Man? Or will he meet the same fate that Whannell did all those years ago?
Now I was hesitant to check this film out, because I saw that it had a low IMDb rating. There is a podcast that I like to listen to that went to see it at the theater, but they do spoilers, so it went on my list to see so I could listen to that episode. I am actually glad that I finally watched this film though. From what I have heard, the concept of this film is actually an urban legend, one that I have not heard of and it is not from the area that I grew up in. I like the concept of a creature like this that gains power by fear and thinking about it, even though it is something that has been done quite a bit already. Especially in this day and age, since this age group, including myself in this, we worry about everything. We are the prime group for something like this to gain a lot of power with. The story progresses fairly quickly, but I think in doing that it built tension well. I thought writing of the film was okay and the mystery that this has. This film does leave a lot unexplained and that really bothered me though. There is multiple references to a train that are never explained. We do get a train scene, but the film makes it seem like much more than what we get. I also don’t understand why Jones’ character has the monstrous dog. I have a heard a possible theory that is connecting this to Greek mythology, which I would love if that was what they were going for, but I think the film needed to connect this more if they were. I really liked the ending of this film though.
The acting in this film is kind of hit or miss for me. Smith was pretty solid as the lead. He has a look of someone that is bothered by what is happening and plays it well. Laviscount I liked at first, but he kind of falls back as the climax approaches unfortunately. Bonas was disappointing. I thought she looked good, but she comes off a little flat. I discovered that she is from Great Britain and I think part of it is she is trying to cover up her accent. Kanell looks her part very well. We also get cameos by King, Dunaway, Carrie-Anne Moss and Whannell. All are solid in the little time on screen they get. Jones doesn’t get any speaking roles, but he is fantastic with his look in the film. I also want to give a shout-out to Tremblay. She was good as the daughter in this and it is amazing to me that her older brother was in another film I just watched that he did a great job in. Crazy that both are that solid at the ages they are. I will definitely see more of what they are in to see if they can continue it on.
I have to comment on the setting of the film, because at least part of this was filmed about 20 minutes from Cleveland, Ohio, where I am writing this. It is fun to see a film that is made so close to me. There was some CGI for this, but it was used very well. They don’t focus on it too much so it doesn’t look fake which is a problem that happens a lot. Wasn’t much needed in the way of that. The editing of the film was solid. Nothing really stood out to me, but the film to me was put together well and never seems to go into a lull, which is great. The soundtrack didn’t stand out either, but didn’t hurt the film.
Now with that said, if you are a horror fan I would recommend this film. I think the name has turned a lot of people off as I saw a lot of memes mocking it. I actually think the story of this film has some good concepts, but lacked completely fleshing them out. The ending is good and it is well-written. The acting is a little hit or miss, but overall it is good. The setting is fun for me being that I’m from the Midwest and that’s where this is, focusing more on Ohio. The creature and the CGI looked good, but I wasn’t a fan of the dog’s that accompanies him and I thought the editing was solid. The soundtrack didn’t stand out, but for this film it didn’t need to. I would definitely recommend giving this film a viewing.
My Rating: 6 out of 10