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[Review] ‘The Bye Bye Man’: Don’t Think It. Don’t Say It. Don’t See It!

bye bye man review

Another January brings another wave of subpar horror films, and this week’s The Bye Bye Man is no exception. The once R-rated film was originally scheduled for an October 2016 release until distributor STX Entertainment, in a surprising show of confidence, moved the film to a June 2016 release. Then the film was pushed back to January 2017 and here we are. Further hopes for a quality film were dashed when it was revealed that it had been edited to obtain a PG-13 rating. The constant shuffling and editing should serve as a warning for filmgoers this weekend, as The Bye Bye Man is a sloppy and silly mess of a film. This is a shame considering the premise (think Oculus meets A Nightmare on Elm Street) is actually quite promising.

College friends Elliot (Douglas Smith, Big LoveOuija), Sasha (English actress Cressida Bonas, really struggling to hold an American accent) and John (English actor Lucien Laviscount, faring better with his American accent) move into a new house away from their college campus where they come across the name “The Bye Bye Man” scratched inside an old nightstand drawer. After Elliot says the name out loud during a séance held by Sasha’s friend Kim (Jenna Kanell), the four friends are plagued by the supernatural entity (genre veteran Doug Jones) whose curse is spread by saying his name.

The film gets off to a pretty great start. Following a haunting prologue that sees a seemingly psychotic man go on a mass murder spree, we are introduced to the trio of main characters before the titular villain begins stalking them. Director Stacy Title has a lot of fun in the early scenes and avoids jump scares for the most part. Working with cinematographer James Kniest, the pair craft up some well done shots and scares (one particular long shot involving a child walking into a small door is simply wonderful), but once The Bye Bye Man’s name is said aloud, the film becomes as cursed as its protagonists.

What started as a moderately creepy supernatural thriller quickly becomes a nonsensical laugh-fest that makes absolutely no sense, sucking all of the tension out of the proceedings. I’m not one to criticize a film that has been edited to obtain a PG-13 rating, but in The Bye Bye Man’s case it directly impacted the quality of the film. Even if you’re able to ignore the careless way the gore was removed (example: a character is shot with a shotgun on screen and there is absolutely no blood to be seen anywhere), you’ll find it impossible to ignore the way the film skips along from scene to scene. Character motivations fail to make any sense after a while and Elliot’s descent into madness seems to happen between scenes. Perhaps it was left on the cutting room floor? Or maybe screenwriter Jonathan Penner (who happens to be the director’s husband) just glossed over those little details.

The performances are decent with the exception of Bonas. Her performance is so wooden that you’d be forgiven for thinking she was just another piece of furniture in the dilapidated house. Faye Dunaway is wasted in her only scene in which she simply to doles out exposition (the film is filled to the brim with characters explaining what they are doing and why). Carrie-Anne Moss also shows up for a few scenes about halfway through the film to liven things up a bit. There is a scene in which she interrogates Smith’s character that works so well due to its restraint that you almost wish the whole film had been modeled after that one scene. There is talent behind the camera here, but it only makes fleeting appearances, much like the Bye Bye Man himself.

Speaking of, the Bye Bye Man is one of the biggest problems with The Bye Bye Man. You’re not given any information about him, which would be fine if he were at least somewhat scary. His first few appearances are creepy enough, with the film providing a lot of “Where’s Waldo” moments as he hides in the background of scenes, but it becomes fairly obvious that this is the only trick up the Title’s sleeves. The Bye Bye Man doesn’t do much other than stand around and watch his hellhound (did I mention he has a hellhound?) sniff around the room. By the time the characters think of a way to stop him (in a revelation that completely rips off the aforementioned A Nightmare on Elm Street) you won’t care anymore. The mythology surrounding the character is equally murky, with his curse lacking any clear rules.

So who is to blame for the slapped together mess that is The Bye Bye Man? Is it Jonathan Penner’s screenplay? Or is it Ken Blackwell’s editing? Is it the studio’s fault? Or did Title just drop the ball? It is undoubtedly a combination of all four, but the fact of the matter is that The Bye Bye Man just isn’t very scary. In fact, it becomes laugh-out-loud funny at a certain point and the laughs keep a-coming until the credits roll. The characters utter two sentences repeatedly in the film: “Don’t think it. Don’t say it.” I’ve got one more to add: don’t see it.



  • Travis_Bickle

    This looked like balls anyway. Thanks for the heads up. I won’t waste my time.

  • Angela M Campany

    I’m looking forward to it !

  • Erik The Red

    The title alone is good enough reason to never watch this drivel.

  • Grimphantom

    The biggest mistake of all was to change it from rated R to PG-13…..seriously who the hell will watch a horror movie as PG-13? There are a few exceptions but come on….

    • huntermc

      I want to be scared, but I don’t want to be offended!

    • REC03

      reminds me of that absolute trash Prom Night “remake”. it was so neutered with people stabbed with their clothes not ripped at all and two drops of blood. a few horror films can get away with it (The Ring) but stuff like the Flop Flop Man and slashers need an R.

      • J Jett

        my god the PROM NIGHT remake was, is and will always be an atrocity! lol.

      • CUJO

        I don’t get the argument that a horror movie needs to be Rated R to be good. Am I the only one who’s seen bad R-rated Horror movies? If so then I wonder what’s wrong with me.

    • Nahuel Benvenuto

      Alan Wake is the personification of those horror movies in video game form lol

  • Creepshow

    There is already a sequel in the works called…

    “Later Bro”

    • madmanrm

      Don’t forget the aussie remake:
      “Cheerio Mate”

  • Gabriel

    Ah, Trace. Always taking one for the team. Your efforts don’t go unrecognized, Sir!

  • I’ve read several reviews today that have all included “Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t see it”. Message heard loud and clear. Skip.

    Side note: this should finally put an end to that whole “paid for” reviews nonsense.

    • Creepshow

      Aw c’mon. You know you have a certain curiosity about how bad it really is. You never let crud reviews stand in your way. Do it!…Do it! XD

      • I REFUSE!! I actually was interested when I heard Doug Jones was in it. I thought, “How awesome. An amazing actor who has proven time and time again that he can bring life and horror to a character without uttering a single word only by relying on body movement is getting his own boogeyman franchise”. Then I read all he does is stand around and look menacing. This is one sludge fest I’ll pass on.

        CUT TO: My ass in a seat for a Saturday matinee because I have a free pass and no plans. :/

        • Creepshow

          Haha! See, you never let me down.

        • J Jett

          i agree Doug Jones is fantastic!

      • Nahuel Benvenuto

        some movies are too bad to spend money on them, but other are SO bad that they are not even the TIME WASTING watching them

  • Mr.Sixes

    This was one of those that the second I saw the trailer I was disecting I was like “Okay so Candyman, Freddy and Bagul had a baby and this is the abortion it made” THe PG-13 bleach didn’t kill it..

  • Elizabeth

    The trailers look awful and the advertising, including the obnoxious push on this site, has seemed really desperate (I know, I know…running a website isn’t cheap). I kind of assumed the first real review would point out how horrible it is.

    • Grimphantom

      Not to mention that it’s obvious that they even shown the ending on the trailers and advertisement.

  • Ivan Camacho

    ok so you guys pushed the hell out of this movie promoting it so now all of the sudden its total crap?? what gives?

    • It’s advertising. That’s how websites stay up and running. No comments on the quality of the film were made until this review. And also, none of us had seen the movie until yesterday. Would you rather we promote the Hell out of it and then write a positive review that is an obvious lie? We can’t win with you guys!

      • Creepshow

        All is fine Trace. It was an honest review that we all saw coming. You spoke the truth, and we respect that. You did nothing wrong.

      • Nahuel Benvenuto

        the trailer looked like literal shit, generic and boring

    • ScriptGiverTJ

      Trace went with and stayed true to his integrity. Weird huh?

    • REC03


  • REC03

    i kinda wanna see this even if its bad. hopefully its so bad its good? i will not be giving them my theater money though. also haven’t seen the iconic Faye Dunaway in awhile. Mommie Dearest remains one of the best scary performances of all time.

  • Tarman_85

    Considering how successful The Conjuring 1 & 2 were as R rated horror films, I don’t understand why there still seems to be the need to keep making horror films PG 13 at this point.

    • Mamet006

      STX is new. Give them a break. They’re still learning. Even if they can’t learn from their own movies as The Gift made bank. Let’s face it. Studios will always make decisions just so they can make decisions. If they knew what they were doing, every movie would be a masterpiece that makes a billion.

      • Nahuel Benvenuto

        huh, they are learning, but they are also professional, didnt they read the script of this mvoie and realized it was shit? they could at least made it into a brainless but fun horror movie with violence, instead they made it pg 13 that makes it bland and gerenic and boring

        • Mamet006

          There’s a saying in Hollywood: “No one wants to make a bad movie.” Thing is that doesn’t translate into “everyone wants to make a good movie.” Sometimes, they just want to make a movie.

  • Redsam6

    This was obviously going to be bad, I was hoping I was wrong for Doug Jones sake.

  • Trisha Tachanawa

    Sounds like a movie you can make into a drinking game late night with your friends. I was honestly surprised it made it theaters.

  • Mace Elliott

    I’m seeing a pattern here. If a trailer depicts the film it’s representing as complete garbage, it’s likely going to be complete garbage. Horror is already a mess of misses with very few hits. By “hits”, I’m not speaking of a film’s revenue, I’m referring to the actual quality of the film overall. Sad state of affairs, I’ll tell ya. I’m willing to bet that the only reason why most horror fans hold out for the genre is because we’ll get an outstanding effort every once in a while that’ll make it all worth it (i.e., The Witch). But I’ll admit it’s like hand-digging through shit for a diamond.

    • Shawn Simpson

      Great big budget horror films are hard to come by these days but last year saw a lot of great indie films be released that I absolutely love. Train To Busan, The Wailing just to name a few. If you’re just waiting for another film with a commercial and a massive budget then you’ll be waiting awhile considering the only one of substance last year was The Conjuring 2(didn’t get a chance to see Ouija so idk about that one.) But seriously horror is alive and well. This year will prove it with A Cure For Wellness, Split, Alien:Covenant and thats just the tip of the iceberg!

      • Mace Elliott

        Aye, many good things have been coming from the indie corner. As for big budget, Split looks really interesting from the trailer, so there is certainly some hope there. Alien Covenant looks promising as well, although I might have a little bit of bias as a fan of both Scott’s work and the Alien franchise in general. We’ll have to see how it all plays out, but I’ve got my fingers crossed for Covenant being a full blown success.

    • Horrible Day

      Even The Witch is a hit or miss with people, I found it to be utterly boring but I see the appeal

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    it will bomb at the box office and that is a good thing, from the trailer it looked terrible already

    • OmarComin’

      The trailer got me interested in it but finding out it’s PG-13 means I am not going to waste money on a cinema ticket.

      Thanks for the heads up.

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    now i am thinking, they probably toned down the movie because they realized it was shit but being for a more wide audience it could get its money back

  • Blood-Sicles

    Saw it and have no idea how this got so much hate. From style to story, it felt like a cheesy throwback to early 2000’s horror. It never took itself seriously, and I had a blast with how ridiculous it got. Sure there’s a wooden performance or 2 and some weird dialog/delivery, but It’s a B-movie and knows it.

    It’s not even close to the level of modern classics like It Follows or The Witch, but I still had fun with it unlike Lights Out, Purge 3 or Conjuring 2 (Only Lights Out has an excuse for looking so fucking cheap, and I don’t remember the acting being all that good in any of them either). At least this movie’s old house looks like a house and not a local haunt attraction (looking at you, Conjuring 2)

  • wrestling fan 36

    A horror movie SHOULD NOT BE PG-13!!!! This movie will be skipped (unless someone else rents it)

  • OmarComin’

    Could they not just get a shit American actor to play an American character instead of a shit English actor playing an American character?

    Or is there a quota where English actors must get X number of roles in Hollywood, regardless of talent?

  • amel alvaro

    wow … you know there is not a trusted site to watch the latest movies that are being discussed by the people ..

    Here the original site

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