Writer: Jonathan Penner, Robert Damon Schneck
Cast: Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas, Doug Jones, Michael Trucco, Jenna Kanell, Erica Tremblay, Marisa Echeverria, Cleo King, Faye Dunaway, Carrie-Anne Moss, Leigh Whannell, Keelin Woodell, Laura Knox, Jonathan Penner, Nicholas Sadler, Martha Hackett, Andrew Gorell, Ava Penner
Production Company: Intrepid Pictures, Los Angeles Media (LAMF), STX Entertainment
Budget: $11,000,000 (estimated)
There will always be a mystery with horror films as to where the motivation comes from when writing the material. For a while now horror hasn’t been at the peak of greatness, though every once in a while, a surprise hit pops into theaters reinvigorating the genre. 2016 was a great year for horror films with nearly every one released being at least slightly entertaining. So with The Bye Bye Man being released in January (the toilet bowl season for movies) there was a chance the greatness of horror could continue on in the new year. So my curiosity was on a rise to join three friends as they went on an adventure to find the origins of a mysterious figure, but that curiosity shifted to anger as each minute passed until the credits.
One thing that’s for sure is this film had a powerful introduction, pulling you towards the edge of your seat, as you’re salivating wanting to know what’s going on. The whole theater was engaged in anticipation to find out what drove one particular character so insanely mad. Was it The Bye Bye Man? Yes, but soon after that the only explanation we received in the film about his character was that he’s disfigured. There’s no origin to his story or conclusion. As I’m writing these words I don’t know anything about him, other than he’s ugly, drives people mad, and finds lazy ways to kill them. So many Easter eggs are dropped throughout the film that could have come together in the end to make sense, but that never happens. All you know is he’s a man in a cloak, and if you say his name your time is limited.
It wouldn’t have been that bad if there were likeable characters to get to know, but just like a sensible plot, that’s absent too. This film contained some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen in a Hollywood production. The thought that certain cast members were chosen is embarrassing. What comes to mind is maybe the real actors/actresses quit on set due to the ridiculous of the property, so they had to hire strangers from off the street to fill in the roles. No one is asking for an Oscar worthy performance that moves you, but a movie goer at least wants to be slightly convinced there is a real danger lurking about within this story.
On top of that, not only were the characters a travesty, but their interactions with each other were as well. One second they’re as dumb as a door knob, then the next they have an encyclopedia worth of knowledge with random expositions explaining the past. No one in their right mind would act the way these characters did in this film. Moment after moment is filled with pure stupidity that doesn’t make logical sense. For starters, if you’re being chased by a man with a shotgun I would get in the car and drive away, instead of deciding to throw books at the assailant. They didn’t bring a knife to a gun fight, but rather books to a gun fight. Great idea! The mistakes are countless and never ending, as if they were doing this on purpose to see how long the audience could bare the crap show on screen.
It’s obvious that making a film is no easy job. There’s so much that has to be accomplished to bring it all together, but I’m dying to know what drugs the producers were on to greenlight this and be confident enough to think it would pass for great night at the theater. If you saw this for free you would still want you money back. It contained stereotypical horror tropes with a token black guy, a gothic girl, and lots of sex without the sex. If that didn’t make sense that’s because the film didn’t either. This was just a ton of random ideas thrown together to try and make a quick buck from consumers. There was a great beginning, but no middle or end, concluding with an ambiguous ending you wish could be erased from your memory.