Day 4 of our frightful flick fest, and up today is The Bye Bye Man, a movie based on the story “The Bridge to Body Island” by Robert Damon Schneck. The movie follows three students- Elliot (Douglas Smith), his girlfriend Sasha (Cressida Bonas), and childhood buddy John (Lucien Laviscount)- who move into an old house near their college. Inside they find all of the original owner’s furniture piled in the basement, including an end table with cryptic writing on the inside of the drawer- “Don’t think it. Don’t say it.”- written over and over again. Elliot pulls off the paper revealing a name: The Bye Bye Man. Afterwards some strange occurrences and visions begin to afflict the three, and they come to realize they’ve unleashed an old evil. The key is dealing with the figure’s name. This being a horror movie, things get messy.
While not entirely original, mixing in elements of Nightmare on Elm Street and the “Bloody Mary” legend, the movie turned out to be much better than I expected it to be. Out of the three friends, Smith and Laviscount were good in their respective roles, but Bonas came across as fairly flat. The titular being was portrayed nicely by Doug Jones (Hellboy), though he wasn’t given a whole lot to do. Had the film taken more of the lore from the original story (where the Bye Bye Man had grown up as a derelict in a train yard in New Orleans, and after he went blind he murdered people, and then sewed their body parts together to create his seeing eye dog) things could have been a bit more interesting. As it was, all we got in the film were images of train tracks and the sound of a train, and a poorly looking CGI pooch. As it was, the movie was fairly enjoyable, and had some decent performances, including Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix, Jessica Jones) as a police detective and Faye Dunaway (Chinatown) as an old widow who knew something of the legend. There were a few creepy moments, and a jump scare or two, and some nice gore effects. Worth at least a rental. Now out on DVD/Blu-ray. 7/10 stars