THE BYE BYE MAN (REVIEW)
Dir. Stacy Title
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
If there’s one thing the horror genre needs right now it’s heroes (or villains depending on your slant on things). Not since Wes Craven’s SCREAM have we really had a villain to look up to, one that is instantly recognisable and can sell Halloween costumes quicker than farms can sell pumpkins. The likes of FINAL DESTINATION, SAW and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY may have brought the fear but we’re missing an urban legend for our time. A vacancy that THE BYE BYE MAN is applying for.
Three college students learn of an urban legend and awaken a hidden evil. Past on through knowing only his name, the Bye Bye Man takes presence in those who are aware of his existence. For the teens involved, simply knowing the boogeyman’s name is enough to send them crazy and it’s a matter of time before the entity knocks on the door for them. As the trio try to learn to origin of evil their fight for survival takes centre stage.
Behind an interesting premise that blends CANDYMAN with A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, lies an empty film. The script is cringeworthy, the central performances so abstract of emotion they may actually be dead and a villain hidden for so long you’ll wonder if he even turned up.
Stacy Title’s adaptation may fool audiences with a high sheen look but under the surface are so many flaws that THE BYE BYE MAN is near unwatchable. “Don’t think it, don’t say it…” is the tagline and the key macguffin to survive but by not thinking about him, the protagonists are subconsciously reminded of him. It’s a faux par for a film that has so much potential, after all, there is a gap in the market for a new urban legend. Further to this, the film’s cast are generally all new talent with the exception of Carrie Ann Moss and the film feels for it. Full kudos to anyone making a break in the acting circle but a bit more experience is needed for the actors on show here, at one point an exchange between one of the teens and their landlord is laughably bad.
Amidst the confusing reality and activity of the Bye Bye Man it can be hard to see what is real and what is not which plays to the films plot but also makes the unfolding chaos predictable leaving very little in terms of mystery for those who’ve seen the likes of BEFORE I WAKE, MR JONES or any hallucinogenic thriller.
For horror fans, avoid this and go and watch any of the great urban myths that are the poster boys for the genre, for those who are a little more casual then still avoid. Say goodbye to the Bye Bye Man.