THE BYE BYE MAN
(director: Stacy Title; screenwriter: Jonathan Penner/ based on “The Bridge to Body Island” by Robert Damon Schneck; cinematographer: James Kniest ; editor: Ken Blackwell; music: The Newtown Brothers; cast: Faye Dunaway (Widow Redman), Carrie-Anne Moss (Detective Moss), Dougles Smith (Elliot), Michael Trucco (Virgil), Lucien Laviscount (John), Jenna Kanell (Kim), Douglas Jones (The Bye Bye Man), Lara Knox (Jane), Cressida Bonas (Sasha), Jonathan Penner (Mr.Daizy), Leigh Whannell (Larry Redmon), Keelin Woodell (Young Mrs Redmon), Erica Tremblay (Alice Wright), Cleo King (Mrs Watkins), MarissaEcheverria (Trina); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Trevoe Macy/Simon Horsman/Jeffrey Soros; STX Entertainment; 2017)
“The biggest question the movie leaves us with, is how did Faye Dunaway get roped into doing the film?“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A dreck teen-based horror pic that’s filled with clichés, bad acting, undeveloped characters, awful special effects, lousy dialogue, a stupid plot and absurd non-sequiturs. It’s the kind of flick that I can imagine appealing to lovers of bad films who even in their wildest dreams can’t believe they would ever find a gem like this one. Stacy Title (“The Last Supper”/”Let The Devil Wear Black”) directs with a misplaced attempt at black comedy as its driving force, as she rolls with the ridiculous plot’s claims that the Bye Bye Man (a boogeyman figure) causes seemingly ordinary people to commit evil acts when they just utter his name.
It’s a curse which she jokingly wants us to believe might explain all those recent American mass school killers going on a rampage when hearing voices in their head. The trivial and hokey screenplay by Jonathan Penner (the director’s hubby) is based on the short story “The Bridge to Body Island” by Robert Damon Schneck. The biggest question the movie leaves us with, is how did Faye Dunaway get roped into doing the film? I suspect the filmmaker must have something on her–she has an inconsequential cameo, playing the widow of a mass killer who will hand a gun to the scared student looking to her for help and tell him to shoot his friends and himself. It opens on the campus of a Madison, Wisconsin college, where three students, the all-American blonde looker, Sasha (Cressida Bonas), and, her bright scholarship student boyfriend, Elliot (Dougles Smith), and Elliot’s athletic-looking black best friend John (Lucien Laviscount), rent a creepy house off campus and move in together. When Elliot discovers a nightstand with the strange writing scribbled in red in the drawer saying: “Don’t think it, don’t say it” and warns that the mentioning of the Bye Bye Man (Douglas Jones) means the evil guy will kill them (Don’t ask why!). The trio are now faced with the fear that they have uprooted an evil curse that lives on from a 1969 slaying of eight people in this house by a crazed reporter named Larry Redmon (Leigh Whannell). He went loco when the curse touches him after covering the story of a mass teen killer in Iowa. Therefore, after the new lodgers throw a house-party, the trio bring in the psychic Kim (Jenna Kanell), a friend of Sasha’s, to perform a seance to rid the house of the evil spirit. Nothing goes right, as the seance only possesses Kim to become unhinged and the trio must deal with this curse as the now possessed fellers tangle over the dame. This means the Bye Bye Man will be coming after them (Again don’t ask why, because the curse is not adequately explained to make much sense).
Things move along as if made up on the fly. The narrative is acted out in such a superficial and awkward way, that a sober viewer might be driven to drink and a viewer with cinema smarts and common sense might split from the theater to go home and watch instead the superb 1976 missing person horror pic of Larry Cohen’s “God Told Me To.” This is a bad film that stands out for being so bad, even among so many other crappy horror films of the same ilk.
REVIEWED ON 8/16/2018 GRADE: D https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/