Sunday, December 10, 2017


Welcome to another installment of the TRASH BIN, where we watch the worst movies Hollywood has to offer, according to the critics, and give you our thoughts, good or bad. This week we review the 2017 horror movie... THE BYE BYE MAN.

The Bye Bye Man is such a mashup of elements from other horror movies, it may be more appropriate to call the film a review of the last fifteen years in horror cinema, rather than an actual movie. Borrowing elements that worked in other movies is not necessarily a bad thing, to me, though even I, a casual horror fan, was still able to spot a great many borrowed elements.

These included, but probably aren't limited to: a monster that can only bother you when you say his name, in the style of Candyman, and can only be seen by his intended prey, as in It Follows; an effort to end the creature's menace once and for all by erasing all record of his existence, as in Freddy vs. Jason; the creature tormenting his victims by screwing with their sense of perception, until the victim ultimately kills themselves, a la Oculus. There are also a whole slew of tropes that can be found in every horror movie ever, like the group of best-buddy, cannon fodder young people (though this lot aren't nearly as DTF as their genre predecessors), the creepy old house, the silent killer, the seance where sh*t gets real, the cop who refuses to see the truth, and the Haunted Thingy that Can't Be Discarded (a nightstand, in this case).

Faced with all of that, any horror fan could be forgiven for getting hung up on The Bye Bye Man's complete lack of narrative distinction. If you watch horror movies, even occasionally, you have seen this movie before. But what saved the experience for me is the execution. This has its problems as well, as with the madman graffiti produced by those concentrating on not speaking or thinking the creature's name, but the story is at its best when the monster is on the move, as any self-respecting horror movie should be. Actual manifestations of the monster are rare, but they are nicely creepy in a popcorn flick sort of way. The scenes where one of the characters is being manipulated by the monster were my favorites; the horror born of not being able to trust one's senses is a theme that doesn't get used very often in movies, probably for the better. Sometimes these moments in this movie are obvious, because you've gotta lure the audience into a false sense of security. When they aren't obvious, they got me every time.

The Bye Bye Man is predictable, derivative fun. That's damning with faint praise, I know, but sometimes you just want to be entertained.

The Bye Bye Man is rated PG-13 for terror, horror violence, bloody images, sexual content, thematic elements, partial nudity, some language and teen drinking.


Rotten Tomatoes: 23%
Metacritic: 37 0.5/4


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