Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. He’s the Bye Bye Man and he’s out to get some Wisconsin college students. Once they learn his name he has the ability to manipulate them into committing terrible deeds. Can they say bye bye to the Bye Bye Man before it’s too late? Find out in… The Bye Bye Man.
How?! Ethan, his girlfriend Sasha, and his best bud forever John take the plunge and rent an off-campus house to live it up like real adults. When his brother comes to visit, Ethan’s niece discovers some odd coins near an old end table. When he goes to put the coins back in the drawer, Ethan discovers some creepy writing repeating the phrase, “Don’t think it. Don’t say it,” and the name The Bye Bye Man etched into the wood. “Who’s that?” he wonders. “He must be super rad with such a rad name that is in no way ridiculous or silly sounding.” During a seance set up to ease Sasha’s mind about the super creepy house they moved into, Ethan is spooked into invoking the name of the Bye Bye Man. Almost immediately everyone who heard it starts to have crazy things happen to them. Ethan keeps imagining a man in a dark cloak, Sasha gets a mysterious sickness, and John keeps hallucinating death and pestilence of those around him. Delving into the mystery Ethan discovers a local journalist who wrote a story with the Bye Bye Man’s name in it. The story was never published, but it turns out that just days after writing it the journalist went crazy and killed a bunch of his neighbors and himself. Realizing that they are being haunted by the Bye Bye Man, Ethan races to save his roommates. Knowing that there is only two things that can kill the Bye Bye Man: 1) killing everyone you know or 2) not fearing him, Ethan opts for the second choice (obvs). But when he gets back to his house to inform his roommates of the Bye Bye Man’s weakness, Ethan is tricked by the Bye Bye Man into killing Sasha. Seeing no end to the horror he burns down the house and kills himself before he can tell anyone else. Unfortunately in a huge unforeseeable twist, John survives the fire just long enough to tell a police officer the Bye Bye Man’s name. Uh oh! Do I smell a franchise?!
Why?! Our main victims are simply living and loving. They want to get out of the dorms and live it up in a house like adults. They can and will have it all. We get a little taste of some motivation for Elliot in the oft-mentioned death of his parents as a kid. It’s why he’s best friends with John, it’s why his brother is worried about him, and seems to be part of the grow-up-fast mentality that gets him into trouble. He pushes himself forward so that he can have the family that he lost at such a young age (and which he misses even more now that his big brother has a family of his own) and playing house with Sasha in a creepy mansion haunted by the Bye Bye Man is part of that. As for the titular Bye Bye Man, he just wants to spread like a virus infecting all that hear his name because he’s an evil demon whose only aim is chaos. His plan is particularly shitty though because he drives all who hear his name insane which leads to them killing themselves and everyone else who heard the name. So much for spreading the virus. You would think the Bye Bye Man would start out like a salesman. “Forgive my weird pale skin, lack of tongue and eyes, and weird demon dog but the deals I can provide you will drive you craaaaazzzzy. That’s Bye Bye Man. Spread the word and say my name.” Soon people would find themselves driving all over the country selling Bye Bye Man door-to-door only to discover that it was all a ruse and they’ve doomed the world to chaos and destruction! That would be a better plan. Fortunately for humanity the Bye Bye Man is a big ol’ dumb dumb who thinks only in the short term. His fatal flaw really.
What?! Good place to note just how many accessories The Bye Bye Man already has in only the first installment of the series (there will be five more, right? I hope). He has gold coins that jingle and jangle when he’s near, he’s got a spooky cloak that he wears, he has a creepy demon dog that he keeps close by, and he has a train that he rides (in your dreams! Oooooo, spooky). Super rare to get to this height in the accessory game and extra rare to get a vehicle. Worst part? The train is never explained nor really comes into play in any significant way at all. If you’re gonna give him a train the least you can do is let him use it.
Who?! Writer and Survivor celeb Jonathan Penner shows up in the film as Mr. Daizy, the landlord of the house who helpfully reminds our young tenets that they signed a lease, Bye Bye Man infestation or not. Also would like to point out that we had a particularly bad American accent by Cressida Bonas. She’s young and has time to work it out but for all those that say how unfair it is that British actors can seemingly play American with ease I would use this as a counterpoint.
Where?! We get an intertitle in the beginning informing us that the intro to the film takes place in Madison, Wisconsin. This setting continues for the whole film evidenced by a plethora of Wisconsin license plates. B-
When?! Like the Wisconsin setting we are treated to an intertitle placing the flashback scenes on October 20, 1969. Finding the date for the main thrust of the film is a little tougher. We can presume that it’s winter due to all the ice we see, but it’s not until later when we catch a glimpse of a sticky note in a gardening shop detailing a recent order for nightshade placed on “12/15” that we get that sweet, sweet exact date. Gonna give that a C+.
It’s been awhile since Patrick and I have had as much fun with a film as this one. It’s a silly film, with a silly name, and an even sillier monster. It is inherently hilarious and I cannot wait for The Bye Bye Man 2. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! I can see the producers meeting now. Mr. Penner, love the Bye Bye Man. Super atmospheric, super spooky. Helps that horror films just print money, amirite? I just have a few notes. So this Bye Bye Man, he’s like an albino with a cloak right? But, like, what if he also had a dog? Amps up that spook-factor and the kiddies love it, amirite? And how about people hear train noises when he’s around, and like find gold coins and stuff. Think on it, think on it, but I’m just saying … it would be a shame if something were to happen to your movie if you didn’t at least consider my notes … amirite, Mr. Penner? Let’s get into it!
The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – The film had a decent bit of atmospheric haunted-house spookiness to it early on. That is it. That needs a Remake there is just so much that could be done. First, strip down The Bye Bye Man! It is so obvious he has too much going on. I think you go train and that’s it. Even his look is off. He should be a raggedy man. Like a serial killing hobo riding from town to town. A ghostly figure which infects a person, makes them go crazy, and makes them kill for him like he used to back in the day. No need for the haunted house. Strip out the weird jealousy love triangle B-story. A guy is living with his two roommates. One day he finds an old coin along some train tracks and he begins to go mad. Ultimately, The Bye Bye Man comes to life and kills his roommates and as a final act makes the protagonist kill himself which is ultimately passed off as a mass murder. Easy peasy! Close with another person across the country finding an identical coin along some train tracks. Bam! This movie botches literally everything about what is kind of an interesting urban legend. It is nuts.
The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – Let’s see. The acting is terrible. The Bye Bye Man looks hilarious (I hate horror films and I can’t stop making jokes about The Bye Bye Man. Like he looks goofy as fuck. You look goofy Bye Bye Man! Yo goofy). The scares are non-existent. And what’s the one weird trick all Bye Bye Mans hate? If you just don’t fear him he can’t hurt you. Who’da thunk it? What a waste. And yet … this week’s Crime Against BMT-anity is that I just could not get over the spooky (not really) haunted house these guys live in. First, when was this movie supposed to take place? They just started to rent a house in Wisconsin, the keys are frozen to the ground when they get there, and they are wandering around in like light jackets? What kind of janky trimester system are they running over at Buchanan-Williams University that they are moving house in like November? Already call bullshit on that. Second, that house would be a nightmare to heat. It is huge. And it has these little tiny radiators. You better be snagging some plastic wrap at Menards Elliot. You better be saving big money. Because you are going to need to double wrap those definitely-not-double-paned windows in this ancient house. Ugh, I’m cold just thinking about it. The most horrifying thing about this movie is their monthly heating bill.
The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – Um, this is one of the most hilarious films I’ve ever seen for BMT. The movie is actually rather dull, but you cannot help but make fun of it after seeing it. I think this has a bright Smaddies Baddies future ahead of it. Man, bad horror films can be so fun. This is like The Fog level silliness. As for the StreetCreditReport.com, there won’t be many official lists until the year it nearly up, but I did find at least one list which places the Bye Bye Man in the top 20 worst of the year so far. I think it might be ultimately forgotten though, it came out quite a long time ago and wasn’t really a big film. We’ll see.
And we’ll wrap with a short Bring and Friend analysis. This week we watched the legendary Manos: The Hands of Fate, which was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (considered possibly the best episode they’ve ever done) as a kind of pre-1980 what does the pre-Blockbuster era have to offer us. This is a good example of a Z-film from the 50s/60s. It actually does remind me of Plan 9 From Outer Space. But would I want to watch more of them? Not really. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians would be another I would consider doing eventually, but they need to be special, on the IMDb Bottom 100 or something. Verdict: Good for special occasions and not much else.