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 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.