The Bye Bye Man is a scary ghoul with a skinless dog. He kills anyone who speaks his name out loud. He can possess people, walk through walls and hack the largest companies in the world.
And he is, by far, the most logical thing in “The Bye Bye Man.”
The horror film feels off, as if along with the souls of the college kids in the movie, the bad guy made off with 20 pivotal minutes of film. There’s a lack of consistency, giving the impression that every scene was shot in one take, a few weeks apart from each other. Moments of humor fall flat, and crucial plot points are unintentionally hilarious. Worst of all, it’s impossible to care about any of the characters.
“The Bye Bye Man” begins, promisingly, with a flashback to 1969, where an apologetic journalist is taking a shotgun to anyone who said the Bye Bye Man’s name. Then we flash forward to the present, as three college students move into a giant house that could easily sleep an entire fraternity. One by one they say the name and slip into a world of fear and paranoia.
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There’s more to the film’s problems than just the writing and directing. Some awkward edits of violence and sex scenes suggest the movie might have been spliced to ensure a PG-13 rating. “The Bye Bye Man” is the kind of mess that happened by committee.
There are a few not-horrible moments. Both flashbacks have a dark comic timing that the present-day scenes never get right. Some of the sequences with the Bye Bye Man (Doug Jones) are weird enough to be interesting.
Carrie-Anne Moss and Faye Dunaway show up in small parts, exuding more coolness in a couple of minutes than any of the young lead actors. Take all the millennials you want, Bye Bye Man, but don’t touch Trinity or Mommie Dearest.
“The Bye Bye Man”
Rated PG-13 for terror, horror violence, bloody images, sexual content, thematic elements, partial nudity, some language and teen drinking. 1:36. Fayette Mall, Frankfort, Georgetown, Hamburg, Nicholasville, Richmond, Winchester.