As I waited for this movie to start, a guy approached me and, presumably looking for a screen to sneak in to, asked what film it was. “The Bye Bye Man,” I told him, “it’s a horror film.” He said: “Is it scary?” which was a stupid question, given that a) it hadn’t started and b) it’s called The Bye Bye Man.
The Bye Bye Man is a new horror film directed by Stacy Title (ironic for a film with such a bad name) and written by Jonathan Penner (ironic for a man who can’t write). These sound like fake names made up by people trying to disassociate themselves from such an interminably boring movie that shamelessly rips off Candyman.
It opens, as virtually no good films do, with three students moving into a scary house. Their housewarming party gets out of hand and they end up having a drunken séance, a bit like Stir of Echoes but with an even worse title. Thanks to an evil nightstand (I wish I was making this up), they unleash a curse that turns them all into terrible actors; a curse which spreads not only out of the house, but into neighbouring cinema screens showing Assassin’s Creed.
The curse gives Prince Harry’s ex-girlfriend a cold (again, not making this up) and summons The Bye Bye Man, who’s a bloke in a hoodie with a dog (I live in Lewisham so that’s not exactly scary). His M.O. is to hunt down anyone who knows his name, so you have to avoid saying it or thinking it, which isn’t exactly difficult; I didn’t think about it once, and I was watching it.
There ensues the usual combination of atrocious CGI, abysmal jump scares and appalling dialogue. “Hi Uncle Elliot!” “Hi Niece Alice!” This film thinks you’re so stupid you can’t even work out that if he’s her uncle, she’s his niece. There’s also a character called Mr Daisy who works in a garden centre. This is never addressed. The whole thing is limp, laughable and about as scary as this kitten:
If there’s one interesting thing about this movie (there isn’t), it’s that The Bye Bye Man is played by Doug Jones, who you won’t recognise from his various transformative creature roles including The Faun and The Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth and one of the Gentleman in the brilliant Buffy episode called Hush.
About an hour in, Carrie-Anne Moss shows up (which isn’t unexpected), but so does Faye Dunaway. Bad movies I can just about forgive, but dragging a screen legend into this stinking cesspit? Now that’s evil. In the end, there’s nothing remotely bearable about The Bye Bye Man. Don’t think it, don’t say it, and whatever you do, don’t watch it.