Sunday, April 30, 2017
The Bye Bye Man Review
Wait, this was supposed to be a serious horror movie???
Why is January usually considered a dumping grounds for bad movies? With the exception of the end of summer, most forgettable and bad movies usually get dumped off at the beginning of the year in order to make way for a stream of highly publicized and most likely good movies. There's an Oscar season, a Blockbuster season, a fall season for horror movies and family flicks, and even a time in early spring for some good hits, but January? Hell, you'd be lucky to get a movie that wasn't instantly considered to be one of the worst movies of the year.
January is usually a bad time for Hollywood because it's a self created limbo. You see, Oscar nominees typically release towards the end of December in order to qualify for the Oscars. Even then, they don't necessarily have to have a wide release. All that a film needs to do to be nominated for the Oscars is to play in one theatre is Los Angeles for seven days. That's it. As long as a movie can do that, then it can qualify to win a heap of awards. So companies release their movies in a limited release at the end of December, then expand into a wide release after the nominees come out so that people can see all of the Best Picture nominees and see some critical darlings. But that leaves a few weeks of emptiness that needs to be filled. Enter the January Garbage, movies that were made on the cheap, usually horror movies, in order to fill that void and get some money off of a terrible movie that no one else would see otherwise. Essentially the void is filled by garbage that the studios know is garbage, but it's all just to tide moviegoers over until they can see the Oscar noms. This is why movies like Bad Grandpa, Movie 43, and now The Bye Bye Man come out at the beginning of the year; no one would watch them otherwise.
Which is a long way of saying that yes, The Bye Bye Man sucks and yes, it's an outright stupid kind of bad.
Horror is hands down the easiest genre to screw up, and The Bye Bye Man fails right out of the gate. The entire premise of the movie is that there are a bunch of teenagers who begin to hear stories about people that commit horrible crimes all because they heard of a specific name. If anyone hears that name, they become a killer and will die in some way, shape, or form and the curse will continue as long as someone hears the name of the monster, aka, the Bye Bye Man.
First off, the Bye Bye Man is a terrible "monster" if you can call it that. He appears, does some spoopy things, and people just start murdering each other. But that's not where the premise of this movie falls apart. The premise is dead on arrival because it's a horror movie version of "The Game". You know the game! The game you just lost! It's a stupid game where you lose if you even think about the game, and it was something that people did all of the time in high school until hey realized how dumb they looked randomly shouting out "I JUST LOST THE GAME!" Now imagine that, only you kill like five people then kill yourself when you say it.
I kind of just want to end the review there because there's literally nothing else of worth here to discuss that won't be just a boring list of why a bad horror movie doesn't work. I think I've explain in painstaking details over the past couple of years about what makes good horror and what makes bad horror. Good horror? The Witch for its chilling atmosphere that terrifies by mood rather than thrills. Bad horror? Silent Hill 3D for its confusing atmosphere that tries to be scary but is undermined by a terrible script, flat delivery, and even worse CGI. Good horror? Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors for its hilarious puns and great gore effects that leave me entertained at a clearly light hearted horror movie. Bad horror? The Bye Bye Man for being hilariously bad that left me entertained because of how pathetic and bad its spooks were supposed to be.
In all fairness, The Bye Bye Man is slightly enjoyable for just how stupid it is. And thankfully it's mercifully short as well, giving me only about 90 minutes of lame, half assed horror. Half assed is the operative phrase here because in better hands, then maybe this could have been an interesting movie. I'm serious here, if you had a movie that was dedicated to the power of a monster and how it infects people the more you hear about them and the more you fear them, eventually becoming the monster itself is a fairly good premise that I would love to watch.
...Oh wait, that movie's called The Babadook, so never mind, there's no point for The Bye Bye Man to exist.
Look, we're about to start the summer movie season and I have a full docket on my plate for Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and believe me I have a lot to say about that movie, but for now, The Bye Bye Man sucks, we all know it, and forget this movie existed like the rest of the world. Yeah, if you want to have a bad movie night and want something that's a little more recent, I can easily recommend this movie alone for just its hilarious death scenes and the dialogue alone, so it's not THAT awful, but I just can't muster up any feelings for this movie other than a resounding "who cares?".
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