Saturday, February 11, 2017

Don't Watch This Alone!: THE BYE BYE MAN

Welcome to another installment of DON'T WATCH THIS ALONE!, where we review the best, worst, and everything in between in the world of horror. Today we'll be reviewing the brand new offering from Styx Entertainment, THE BYE BYE MAN.

January is one of the key months of the year where studios tend to release their horror movies. This past January was no different and on Friday the 13th, Styx Entertainment released a fresh, new horror film onto the movie going audiences, The Bye Bye Man.  I chose to review this movie for three reasons. One, it’s really scary, two, the movie was filmed only a few miles from where I live, and three, I had the pleasure of working with The Bye Bye Man’s makeup supervisor/special makeup effects artist, Alan Tuskes on another project; the forthcoming horror movie Estella’s Revenge from Ghost Walk Studios. 

Written by Jonathan Penner and directed by Stacy Tile, The Bye Bye Man is a terrifying ‘what if’ tale. That ‘what if’ all the unspeakable acts that were suddenly committed by normally rational and nonviolent people where caused because they were driven to do them by a sinister force who’s name they had thought about and spoken aloud. An innocuous name that sounds like something in a children’s story. Then, no matter how much the victim chants to themselves ‘don’t think it, don’t say it’ nothing can stop The Bye Bye Man from driving them insane. Nothing, that is, but death.

The Bye Bye Man centers around three college students who decide to rent a slightly run down house so they can live off campus. Elliot (Douglas Smith), his girlfriend Sasha (Cressida Bonas) and his best friend John (Lucien Laviscount) pool their money together and move into the house, which comes complete with furniture including a night stand from which mysterious coins keep falling from.  Inside the drawer, Elliot finds the words ‘don’t think it, don’t say it’ scribbled in every part of the drawer along with the words, The Bye Bye Man.

After a raucous housewarming party, Sasha’s psychically inclined friend Kim (Jenna Kanell) tells them there is a dark presence in the house and offers to do a sage cleansing.  After which the others talk her into performing a séance which is when Kim makes contact with the presence and Elliot says the name – The Bye Bye Man (played by Doug Jones). The others repeat the name, not knowing the horror they are unleashing on themselves and anyone else they may utter the name to. Once The Bye Bye Man gets inside your head, he takes control.

The Bye Bye Man is from the same producers of Oculus and The Strangersso it’s no surprise that 
this is one creepy movie filled with visual twists and turns along with the ones in the plot. The horrific opening of the movie sets the pace for The Bye Bye Man to unfurl as a solid, make you jump in your seat horror movie and create a new iconic horror movie villain. The concept of an evil creature who can gain control over someone by having them think about the creature or say its name is not a new one. This plot device played a prominent part of the movie Freddy vs Jason in which the people of Elm Street had banished Freddy’s power by simple stopping his name from being said or his story to be told.  In The Bye Bye Man, this plot device is used to set up the story and to set the characters in motion towards their descent into madness under the control of the evil demon-like monster. Like every good urban legend type ‘boogeyman’ The Bye Bye Man has a back story that is as creepy as he is.

The acting in The Bye Bye Man is fairly decent and there are two surprising cast members that lend strength to the story. The story itself definitely holds your attention, not to mention it doles out quite a few scares. My only quibble with The Bye Bye Man is whoever came up with the sage cleansing ritual obviously didn’t do enough research. They have Kim and the others start at the top of the house and work their way down. Any good psychic or spiritualist knows that that only forces the negative energy and the evil to stay in the house.  A real psychic would have known to do the cleansing ritual by starting in the basement and working your way up to the very top of the house, thereby forcing the evil and negative powers out of the house.  
Other than that minor quibble, which in no way makes the movie less enjoyably scary, I say if you like horror movies then The Bye Bye Man is one to see.

Marla's Rating: 7/10

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