Wednesday, April 19, 2017

[Review] The Bye Bye Man

You either die a Babadook, or you live long enough to see yourself become The Bye Bye Man.

This insanely ridiculous, meme-provoking horror film is a modern marvel of unintentionally hilarity, and I loved every minute of it. After opening with a sadistically grim scene that flips to chuckle-worthy at the drop of a dime, the story flash-forwards to the present where we meet a generic group of college students who move into a decrepit old house that might as well read "Yep, I'm haunted" on the welcome mat. The usual stuff occurs--mysterious noises, doors closing on their own, out-of-control bodily functions... And then the group learns of THE BYE BYE MAN - an imaginary, mind-warping entity who apparently makes people want to kill whenever they say or think its name.

Drinking game: If you took a shot every time someone in this movie says "Don't think it, don't say it," you'd be dead. And if you took a shot every time someone actually does utter "THE BYE BYE MAN," you'd also be dead--from laughter. See, whenever someone spews out the name, they make an amusingly odd face and their eyes roll back, as if they've finally broken a spell of constipation. It's kind of how my face looked the entire time while I was watching this movie. And let me just say that I'm so glad that this thing falls into the so-bad-it's-funny category, rather than the so-bad-it's-just-bad category.

To the film's credit though, the composition of some of the early scenes--between the eerie lighting and camerawork--is effective enough to spook you out if you're watching this at home alone in the dark. But then there's all the absolutely absurd and relentlessly cheesy scenes, like the one where a couple is sitting in a car, and little maggots start squirming out of the girlfriend's eye. This scene is even funnier than the trailer cut (the exchange that takes place is something you just have to witness for yourself). And there's the head-scratching hallucinatory sequences that look like Axe Body Spray commercials gone wrong. And the random Chupacabra that comes out of nowhere. I seriously wondered what the point of any of it was. And then there's the consistently atrocious acting and the hysterically questionable dialogue. When The Bye Bye Man begins to get into the characters' heads, I couldn't believe the stuff that was coming out of their mouths (and how it made the final script). Honestly, The Bye Bye Man is actually a pretty funny guy. He really should be called The Ha Ha Man.

What's also astonishing is how this film is so incredibly derivative, so unwilling to carve out its own path in the crowded genre of haunted house and evil ghoul movies. And yet, I went into it thinking it would be completely forgettable and ended up being wrong. Because I cannot stop thinking about it.

( The Bye Bye Man/10 )

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