Verdict: A confusing first half, followed by a damp second half.
Horror movies are becoming less scary now. Gone are the days when we would be huddled on our seats in terror, as the supernatural spirit would try every maneuver to get to us. Some of us would shield our eyes with our hands or even slide under the necklines of our shirts. Even then, the sound of a weapon or the screams of the victims would keep us shivering.
But no more! Now we watch these so-called ghosts perform some of the most brutal murders, and we just sit there, devouring our tub of popcorn. Have horror movies become monotonous or are they just not realistic anymore? It’s actually both. And when you see The Bye Bye Man, you understand why.
Can you think of the most commonly used horror movie clichés? The Bye Bye Man has them all. The movie begins with three teenage students – Elliott, Sasha and John – renting out a mansion in the middle of the woods. Elloit (Douglas Smith) and Sasha (Cressida Bonas) are dating, while John (Lucien Laviscount) is Elloitt’s best friend. During their housewarming party, the trio, along with Sasha’s friend Kim (Jenna Kanell), perform a séance, which leaves them all disturbed. Shortly after, Sasha falls ill, John is developing feelings for Sasha while becoming hostile towards Elliott, and Elliott keeps seeing and hearing things that are not happening. Elloitt also finds a nightstand in his room with the words ‘DON’T SEE IT, DON’T THINK IT’ scribbled on paper inside. When he takes off the paper, ‘THE BYE BYE MAN’ is scratched onto the wood. Elloitt and his friends do the exact thing they were told not to – they say it and they think it – and now The Bye Bye Man is coming to get them.
For a horror movie, The Bye Bye Man barely gets a few jumps out of you. We are not saying that the movie is not scary at all – there are just other emotions involved. The first half has your attention as you try to figure out what is happening and why. The second half gives you a few explanations but mostly leaves you wondering. Once The Bye Bye Man is on screen, the mood is more relaxed because the guy bears an uncanny resemblance to the Late Michael Jackson. He vanishes as soon as he appears. Then you can’t simply wait for the return of the comical ghost and his pet hound, which looks like a version of the Demogorgon in Stranger Things.
What’s interesting about The Bye Bye Man is that he doesn’t kill you, but makes you go insane. Elloitt is trying to fight the demons inside his mind, while suppressing The Bye Bye Man’s control over him. Most people go mad to the point that they kill everyone around them, including themselves. While the actor tries his best to get the part right, no one from the cast really leaves an impression. Kim’s character starts off being interesting, but there’s hardly any screen time for the actress to make a mark. The lead trio seems to have no chemistry among themselves to give us something to look for or sympathize with. Overall, there’s not much in the movie you haven’t seen before, but you mustn’t miss the MJ look-alike, who is likely to haunt your dreams with his killer dance moves later at night.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
If you are a horror movie buff, why let this one go? There are very few great horror movies, and this may not one of them, but it isn’t completely pointless either. It has got the best of horror movie tropes and even your all-time favorite ‘haunted house’. Go for it, 'cause this is thriller!