Movie Spotlight: The Bye Bye Man

Welcome to a little corner of the site we like to call, Movie Spotlight! This is where we take the time to showcase some films from the past, present and maybe even from the future! Okay, that’s a lie, there aren’t any films from the future here. We do have candy and an assortment of cheese though – so sit back, relax and take a gander. You might discover a film you never knew about for your Netflix or Showmax watchlist!

The story…

People commit unthinkable acts every day. Time and again, we grapple to understand what drives a person to do such terrible things. But what if all of the questions we’re asking are wrong? What if the cause of all evil is not a matter of what, but who? When three college friends stumble upon the horrific origins of the Bye Bye Man, they discover that there is only one way to avoid his curse: don’t think it, don’t say it. But once the Bye Bye Man gets inside your head, he takes control.

So, what makes this film so great?

I might take some fire for this one as The Bye Bye Man is remarkably unpopular and severely criticised for its flaws. However, since I refuse to conform to what is considered ‘normal’ or ‘popular’, you can stick it in your ear. I kind of liked this movie – despite its flaws.

See, while most horror films are rather to the point and usually end relatively the same, The Bye Bye Man tries something different. Okay, there is a really big emphasis on the word ‘try’ here. I mean, you know how these sort of films go by now, don’t you? Annoying young adults/teenagers arrive at a creepy location, ask ‘who is that?’ and end up dying horribly in whichever fashion the filmmaker managed to dream up. That’s the formula that works, it’s something we know and it’s something we always see. It’s something we’re getting tired of. It’s a formula that’s no longer fun. That right there is the biggest failing of The Bye Bye Man. If it were released 10 years ago, it would have been a cult classic now.

Let’s take an example…

Jeepers Creepers 1 & 2 were great. Jeepers Creepers 1 followed the formula, Jeepers Creepers 2 followed it too. However, a mere few years later, Jeepers Creepers 3 came out and tried it again, this time spectacularly failing with all the same sort of stuff we ate up in the previous two films. This means we, as audiences are tired of the same old stuff year after year. There are enough films featuring monsters, ghosts, and demons who chase stupid people around in the dark. We want something new, or at least, something semi-original in its concept.

Now, that being said. The Bye Bye Man isn’t exactly the best movie ever made. It’s not terribly original. It has a lot of the stuff we’ve seen before. It also has gaping plot holes that I might end up addressing somewhere later down the line. This film is far from perfect.The name even sounds like something a 5-year-old would come up with. It’s hardly scary or intimidating. In fact, I get the feeling that nobody really bothered to dream up a good name for this monster/demon/thing and they just went with whatever it was ‘codenamed’ in during early production or concept sketching.

Deep behind the clutter in this film, you can see glimpses of what it was meant to be.

( *** You can see the story it’s based on in the book The President’s Vampire by Robert Damon Schneck. The original story is called The Bridge to Body Island *** )

The Bye Bye Man has a simple idea behind it. You say the name of the monster, the monster finds you and it makes you hallucinate, scares the poop out of you and yeah…that’s pretty much that. The monster itself isn’t really very scary on its own, it’s dog is underused even though there were obvious potentials to link it to internet myths such as Smiledog or a similar monster. I feel that someone could have bothered to flesh it out a little more and give us the motivations behind it. Like, what drives it to do what it does, you know?

Anyway, back to why I’m doing a Spotlight on this particular film…

The one thing about this film that I like is very specific. It has nothing to do with the overused characters, idiotic choices or boring pace of the story. It has nothing to do with the fact that there will probably be a sequel featuring Carrie Anne-Moss and it has nothing to do with the fact that you could have probably avoided the entire situation by just burning the bedside table/wardrobe thing.

The one singular thing I like is that this film links to real life. It connects to those random evil things normal people seem to do. Those things that make no sense. Severely bad, evil things, done by regular people.

Think of school shootings, people randomly murdering whole families, stuff like that. The Bye Bye Man attempts to connect the dots and presents us the idea that hey, what if those people weren’t crazy? What if those people had some unseen force driving them to do what they did? This film literally starts with a guy gunning down everyone he knows just to put a stop to the ‘name’ of the Bye Bye Man being remembered or spoken again. A normal fellow doing terrible things. Just some normal guy you’d never have expected much from.

Later in the film, we see someone as innocent as a woman who works in a library murder people. Beyond that, the central character freaks out to the point that he literally challenges and taunts The Bye Bye Man into upping the game. Which he does, as you would expect. Elliot ends up dying horribly after doing pretty much every terrible thing he never thought of doing or wanted to do.

I think all this mirrors real life rather well. I mean, all those people you so often see on the news or in murder documentaries who claim they were possessed during a murder or that the devil made them do it. Some unseen force, willing them into committing unspeakable deeds? A likely story… but are they in fact not delusional? Is there something real stalking them, driving them to do what they do? What is it? Who is it? Does something like that exist? Was it… The Bye Bye Man?

I don’t know about you, but that scares the living crap out of me…

Grand Moff Morris
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Grand Moff Morris

You know, this was supposed to be my day off. But nooooooo. Instead, you got me out here dragging your heavy ass through the burning desert, with your dreadlocks sticking out the back of my parachute.
Grand Moff Morris
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