So we’ve already had the first Friday the 13th of the year and something wouldn’t have seemed quite right unless a new scary movie was released on this date. Taking full advantage of the superstition is the first horror film of the year, ‘The Bye Bye Man’. Trailers and early reviews didn’t scream quality about the film and it is safe to say that my expectations were rock bottom before watching.
The premise for the film, whilst it could have been lifted straight out of an episode of ‘Doctor Who’, certainly had potential and there were aspects of it that I appreciated. The villain especially could have become something memorable, something like a Freddy or a Jason but unfortunately due to that terrible name the Bye Bye Man just came off as a little naff. There is one particular element to this character which I thought set him aside from other horror villains, I won’t reveal it here but it was used well in the film and allowed for a certain degree of mystery in the early stages of the narrative. The horror itself is pretty tame and hardcore fans of the genre won’t be phased. I found the whole thing enjoyably jumpy, if you are the kind of person who can have a good time with cheap scares you’ll be entertained with this, however if you are more serious about the genre it’s quite possible you might hate it.
Unfortunately I can’t say that the performances of the cast do a lot to help the narrative, in fact they often detract from it. The three main characters are all played by relatively unknown performers and I don’t think ‘The Bye Bye Man’ will quite score any of them their big breaks. Often any moments of quality creeping into the movie are halted by these weaker performers. One of the biggest shocks of the movie was seeing Carrie-Anne Moss appear halfway through. She doesn’t really have a lot to do and it is slightly baffling as to why she is in the movie however it was nice to see a more seasoned actress grace the screen. She also features in probably the best written scene of the movie, in which see interrogates a potential suspect. Ultimately her small role just isn’t enough to save the cast as a whole who fail to ever become worth investing in.
With low expectations and the right attitude ‘The Bye Bye Man’ is harmless fun. It’s not a so bad it’s good kind of film as there are definitely elements with potential here and some narrative moments are worth watching for. I only wish a different name had been chosen as the likelihood of a more sinister film, and future sequels, would have been much higher. The average to poor cast and lack of any real scares halt the film from being anything else than a throwaway horror, nonetheless it’s still an enjoyable one.
Rating – 5.5/10
Question: Who is your all time favourite horror movie villain?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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