Don't say his name. Don't see his movie.
Credit: Doug Jones

The Bye Bye Man

Say “Hello!” to the latest attempt by Hollywood to craft a new horror icon in the vein of Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, or even the concept of “Death” from the underrated Final Destination series, which is arguably the franchise The Bye Bye Man most closely resembles. Douglas Smith, Cressida Bonas, and Lucien Laviscount play a trio of college students who move in to a unfeasibly large house off-campus, despite Bonas’ character Sasha regarding the joint as creepy as Hell. One ill-advised séance later, Sasha has developed an alarming cough, Laviscount’s John is seeing a maggot crawl from the eye of his one-night-stand, and Smith’s Elliot has discovered deep, claw-like marks on their abode’s exterior brickwork.

Turns out, our heroes have attracted the attention of the film’s titular, hellhound-accompanied ghoul played by genre favorite Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth). And that’s bad news, because the Bye Bye Man thrives on attention. The more you think about him, the more likely he is to fill your brain with fatality-causing fantasies, although that is one of the few things we can say for a certain about the character given the film is as short on cogent mythology as it is on scares. Why do people hear the sound of a coin falling to the floor when the Bye Bye Man is near? Why does the Bye Bye Man have a dog with him when he is about his ghoulish business (do they not have Doggie Day Care in Hell?)? And, while we’re at it, why-oh-why does Elliot think cranking up the volume on the song “Bye Bye Love” will help him stop from thinking about the Bye Bye Man when that would seem to be the one song GUARANTEED TO BRING HIM MIND???

The result is thin gruel made only a tad more flavorsome by cameos from Carrie-Ann Moss, Faye Dunaway, and Insidious screenwriter Leigh Whannell. Maybe all will be explained in the sequel. If so, your writer is happy to remain uneducated. This isn’t farewell for now, nascent horror franchise—this is goodbye. C

The Bye Bye Man
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