Elliot, his girlfriend Sasha and his best friend John are three college students who decide to rent a ridiculously large and haunted-looking house together off campus. Surprise, surprise: they begin to notice strange events and bizarre occurrences, all of which seem to be linked to the titular bogeyman, who needs people to say his name so that he can drive his victims to psychosis and murder.
Even if you look past the stupid title, this film feels like director Stacy Title and her screenwriter hubby Jonathan Penner enviously cursed It Follows for its successful nostalgia-riffing ways and, in a drunken stupor, thought it was a good idea to haphazardly compile elements of their favourite horror flicks for their own throwback horror film. The result is a Candyman-meets-A Nightmare On Elm Street rehash with shades of The Babadook.
Now, while this crude description doesn’t sound completely repulsive, and the regularly-employed horror trope of summoning all kinds of nastiness via onomastic means remains a fascinating concept, it’s worth saying that The Bye Bye Man is rubbish. Not the so-bad-it’s-good rubbish, mind you; rather, the irredeemable kind of rubbish that genuinely looks like an undergrad film project that ran out of money halfway. The husband and wife team are completely out of their depths, the editor was clearly chopping blindfolded and the young trio of actors (Douglas Smith, Cressida Bonas, Lucien Laviscount) need to enrol in acting classes post-haste. And just when you thought it wasn’t ridiculous enough, The Bye Bye Man completely wastes the talented, Giacometti-framed Doug Jones and features both Carrie-Anne Moss and Faye Dunaway slumming it for a pay checks with inexplicably stupid cameos.
To bastardise the film’s very own mantra: Don’t think it. Don’t say it. And certainly don’t waste your time seeing it.
The Bye Bye Man | Directed by Stacy Title (US, 2017) with Douglas Smith, Cressida Bonas, Doug Jones. Starts April 20
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