The Bye Bye Man
Updated: Jul 19, 2021
The 256th review overall!
I want to thank everyone who has liked the page and has been watching and reading my reviews. Believe me, it is greatly appreciated. Anyways, when I came home from work I went diving into Netflix and eventually came up with...
The Bye Bye Man (2017). Netflix.
I remember seeing a preview for this movie a couple years ago and was intrigued. In a nutshell, the Bye Bye Man is an evil entity that can be summoned just by knowing its name. If you say it, or even think it you’re screwed. The more scared you are of him, the stronger he gets, he also causes you to hallucinate to get you to do things you normally wouldn’t. The movie starts off with a surreal scene in the 1970’s. A man is walking around his neighborhood with a big ass shotgun. He then murders a number of people demanding to know who all they told the name to. After he’s convinced he’s wiped out the line he kills himself. There’s something so off-putting in all the right ways of the image of him walking after his neighbors wearing a nice sweater, holding a huge shotgun in broad daylight. It’s really is an effective scene and makes me wish the movie told his story instead of jumping into the future.
A dude, his girlfriend and his best friend rent a house off campus. The movie takes pains to show us how close they all are and how much in love the couple is, so you know it’s not going to end well. While the main character, Elliot, who already looks a little unhinged at the start of the movie, is hosting a party he comes across an old nightstand. When he pulls out the drawer, “Don’t think it, don’t say it!” is scribbled across the entire thing. Demanding to know more he pulls off the paper to see the words “The Bye Bye Man” carved into the wood. Oops. Naturally he then starts blabbing the name to anyone he meets. Double oops.
It’s a nice way to get them to introduce the name, but it doesn’t make sense. The dude in the beginning murdered everyone he told the name to. He knows the carving is there because he tried to cover it with his own decorations. Question is, why would he not destroy the nightstand drawer to prevent it from ever coming back? I know if he does that, we don’t have a movie, but I don’t buy that he’d let it slip through the cracks.
The movie has some good scares and for awhile, the Bye Bye Man is really creepy. Played by Doug Jones, he’s a very thin man with long fingers, wearing a black overcoat and a hood covering his face. As far as monsters go, he’s not a bad one. The Bye Bye Man has your normal set of jump scares, but one of them is telegraphed multiple times so I gave it a pass. But it’s not all pop out frights! There’s a nice little scene in a library that’s legitimately frightening!
It works for awhile, but eventually the concept is hurt by the overpowered bad guy. It was the same problem I had with the movie They. When your bad guy is all powerful it takes away the fun of the chase. Freddy Krueger is all powerful, but he has several weaknesses. Freddy is overconfident and you have the ability to beat him. As for the Bye Bye Man, if you learn his name, you’re toast. You can’t get him out of your head, so it’s only a matter of time before he gets to you.
The acting is just OK. Elliot’s girlfriend Sasha, doesn’t really come close to pulling off an American accent, Elliot looks nuts from the jump, and their friend John, well, he’s kind of all over the place. The movie even has Carrie-Anne Moss with like five minutes of screen time, on the whole, the acting is pretty uneven. I enjoyed the story and the atmosphere, but once you realize the extent of this thing’s power, you’re just killing time until the protagonists meet their ends.
Now the ending, I have mixed feelings about it. I liked that small twist into what Elliot thinks he’s doing, it surprised me and I didn’t think the film had any surprises left in store. I also liked how it reached the only logical conclusion for him. There’s also some things I didn’t like. I wasn’t a fan of how out-in-the-open the Bye Bye Man was. He takes off his hood, the camera focuses on him and he doesn’t look as scary anymore. Sure he’d disfigured, but the quick shots and letting your imagination fill in the blanks was cooler than what we got.
As for the final ending, I have mixed thoughts on it as well. I was ready to give a scathing review based on the cliche they were setting up. I was THIS close to being super annoyed they were going to waste Elliot’s mission, but then they surprised me in a pretty adorable way (hard to explain without giving it away, so I won’t) that made me let out an audible sigh of relief. But then the movie’s final scene goes ahead with it anyway, but with a different character. Whatever, better that way than what I originally thought.
5.5 Dr. Chainsaws!
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