Friday, 20 January 2017

Review: The Bye Bye Man

 2017 Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas

January's horror offering The Bye Bye Man has been getting a lot of flak lately, but luckily i'm here to tell it's honestly not all that bad....sort of.

The film centres around 3 friends who rent an off campus house for their college year and accidentally discover a curse linked to the titular character.
After a violent and pretty jolting opening sequence I went into the film with expectations above average. The scene involved a suburban neighbourhood in the 80's under siege by a man with shotgun apparently trying to 'stop him'. This set the bar quite high and made me instantly curious too learn more about just what exactly was he trying to stop.

After being buried for decades the curse is let looses once again by the trio when one of them sees the name written on a piece of furniture. The seeing and thinking of this name is meant to make the curse grow stronger and bring The Bye Bye Man closer to you.
Now The Bye Bye Man never visits his victims alone, he has his faithful hell hound with him at all times. Unfortunately this creature is made up of some of the worst CGI iv seen in years, seriously 1980's Ghostbusters looks masterful compared to this!

Another problem was that there seemed to be no clear 'rules' as to when he might appear, curses always have rules! The sound of a coin dropping, scratching on walls and loss of time all fell into the same category and felt like they just happened for the sake of whatever scene they appeared in. If the director stuck to one sign and hammered it home, this would have been much more effective. These moments did supply some good creepy scenes though, a few red herrings thrown in here and there but nothing totally original. I think that was the main gripe with this film, there were good things on offer here but most had been done better by similar films or the scares were executed at the wrong times.

The best and most interesting thing about this film was the way in which it's characters were tied to the curse. The Bye Bye Man preyed on their weaknesses and insecurities. Watching the systematic breakdown of their confidence was as chilling as it was entertaining. Illusions would fool the characters, making the trio turn on each other, become jealous and sometimes even violent. This created a great sense of paranoia and a solid 'who done it' feel to things.

Unfortunately for all these twists, turns and second guessing The Bye Bye Man failed to deliver on the main point of a horror film, the scares. His character was more behind the scenes than trailers and marketing implied, this left the focus one the main cast. It was because of this that when he did appear I felt more intrigued as to what he would finally do having caught up to someone rather than feeling scared.

The Verdict

The Bye Bye man certainly wasn't the train wreck  most people said it was, treading familiar ground with some tweaks here and there it certainly wasn't original. Strong characters and a few memorable moments couldn't quite outweigh poor CGI and a sometimes overwritten villain.


Saturday, 7 January 2017

My 2017 film picks

With Christmas over and your New years diet already on the rocks, January can feel like a pretty depressing month. But never fear, 2017 is set to be a fantastic year for cinephiles all over! With some great comebacks as well as original ideas there is truly something for everyone to look forward to.

Here is my own list of all the most anticipated films etched on my calender, enjoy!

Underworld: Blood Wars
Werewolf slaying vampire huntress Seline (Kate Beckinsale) is back for the 5th instalment in the franchise and fans are hoping for a return to form. It appears characters throughout the franchise have been gathered together and will be battling it out in the usual flashy, neo-gothic style we have come to enjoy. I am prepared for what should be a bloody good time! Pun very much intended ;)

John Wick Chapter 2
I thought the original John Wick was one of the best straight up action films of the last decade. It was stylish, character driven and boasted many a memorable set piece. The sequel sees John thrust back into the world of hired assassins and this time he faces even greater threats. Keanu Reeves is one of those actors that you can rely on for a great performance and I cant wait to learn more about his character and see those lethal moves on the big screen once more.

Ghost In The Shell
Scarlet Johanson and arguably the world's most recognised anime collide for what could be a neon soaked sci-fi masterpiece. It is going to be fascinating to see how the director handles those classic moments from the anime as well as fusing some of his own ideas and styles. They are also releasing a book 'The Art of The Ghost in The Shell' which features the making of and also hundreds of concept sketches form illustrators and artists around the world.

Spiderman: Homecoming
It has been years since I have actually looked forward to, or even cared about a Marvel film but I hope this one will change all that. Wet blanket Andrew Garfield is out of the picture and up steps young Tom Holland. Even the short trailer got more laughs out of me than the last 5 marvel entries combined, he just fits the role of Peter Parker so well and I look forward to seeing where he will take the character and what surprises lay in store.

Alien: Covenant
Ridley Scott is back and doing what he does best. Covenant promises nail biting suspense, strong character development and those signature moments of dread. I am hoping this fills in some of the blanks from the flop that was Prometheus and serves as new life for the franchise. The trailer suggests it has the feel of the first 2 films but with the up to date visuals of modern cinema, bring it on!

Samara returns for the third instalment and her curse is stronger than ever, Julia worries for her boyfriend when he watches the cursed video tape and makes a horrifying discovery. There is a movie within a movie and it thrusts the couple into a race against time to save themselves before Samara comes for them in 7 days...

The Belko Experiment
Basically Battle Royale inside an office block and written by James Gunn. Sold.

Star Wars Episode VIII
After episode VII left us hanging its hard not to want answers. What is Rey's connection to Luke Skywalker, who is Snoke and can Kylo Ren be saved? While under the guide of a different director i still feel the franchise is in good hands, this could be the biggest film of 2017 without a doubt.