What saves The Bye Bye Man from being a complete ho hum horror flick is the special effects/makeup and the acting. It’s too bad because the movie, especially the beginning, promises to really knock your socks off. Many possessed stories have circulated via movies with some of the most famous being The Amityville Horror (1979), The Exorcist (1973), The Shinning (1980), and The Ring (2002). Those being dated and sometimes hard to find, opens the door to movies like this one that goes after some cheap thrills and chills, but never being truly original. Still however, if they make it horror film fans will seek it out as with this one that has made over $22 million theatrically on an $8 million budget. The film has been released in a Blu-ray/DVD + Digital HD combo pack for the first time since its original theatrical release in January.
Happily in love Elliot (Douglas Smith) and Sasha (Cressida Bonas) along with best friend John (Lucien Laviscount) want to live off campus for their last college year so they have been searching for the right rental with enough room for them and at a reasonable rent. John has come up with the ideal house, close to campus that’s got several bedrooms. Classes over for the day and the three head for their new digs with the rent paid and ready for occupancy. They are thrilled even though Sasha does say “it’s a little creepy”. But, Elliot and John are happy to have a chance for privacy and freedom from on campus housing rules and regulations.
Soon after they have moved in and spending their first night, Sasha hears strange sounds in the house. Fast forward some days and they have a party to celebrate their new home. Director Stacy Title introduces several other characters including John’s friend Kim (Jenna Kanell). A psychic, Kim sets up a séance following the reveal that Elliot has been possessed after discovering words left behind by a mass murderer. From this point forward Title delivers a strong dose of weird, wicked and violence.
The downside however comes with the amount of absurdities displayed on the screen. With most horror/terror flicks one gets frightened when there’s at least a small chance that what you see on you home video may be possible. That’s when you start checking your windows and doors to make sure they are locked. And Bye Bye Man gets so preposterous and hackneyed that there’s not a lot of skin crawling or goosebumps unleashed to satisfy even the most ardent “horrorphile”.
If there’s any redeeming factors in the film it’s the special effects and make-up that gives the gruesome main character and the hound some semblance for the feeling of fright and gut retching. Unfortunately the direction should have been a lot better, but Stacy Title’s inexperience gets in the way of giving a certain chapter of Robert Damon Schneck’s novel The President’s Vampire any credence.
There’s not much more to be said about The Bye Bye Man except like the movie says, “don’t think it, don’t say it”. And with this film it’s probably left unsaid. So check out the trailer that accompanies this critic’s review for your take on the movie.
The Bye Bye Man was originally rated PG-13 by the MPAA for terror, horror violence, bloody images, sexual content, thematic elements, partial nudity, some language and teen drinking. After watching the film however, it deserves an R rating, especially the visuals of the shooting, train and stabbing scenes, and should only be viewed by the mature over 17. Just saying.
FINAL ANALYSIS: Not one of the better horror flicks.
Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas, Jenna Kanell, Doug Jones, Michael Trucco, Cleo King, Erica Tremblay, Carrie-Anne Moss, Faye Dunaway, Leigh Whannell.
Director: Stacy Title
MPAA Rating: Not Rated Version only on Blu-ray. Original MPAA rating PG-13 for terror, horror violence, bloody images, sexual content, thematic elements, partial nudity, some language and teen drinking
Genre: Horror Thriller
Running Time: 1 Hour 37 Minutes
Video Release Date: April 11, 2017
Original Theatrical Release Date: January 13, 2017
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray (Unrated Version)
Audio: Blu-ray DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 + DVS
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Number of Discs: 2 Discs box set with BRD, DVD + Digital HD upload code
Distributed by: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment