This will not be a spoiler free review let me say that from the start. However, I don’t think I could really spoil it that much to begin with because I’m not entirely sure what it was about or what happened in it. I’m much more focused on the fact that Johnathan Penner wrote it and was in the movie but that’s of little consequence to you if you also don’t watch Survivor 15 years ago. Probably less than 15 but you get my point. Fucking guy’s face changed so much and he was an actor before survivor, kind of a successful one too. What the fuck Johnathan Penner?
I AM SUPER SERIOUS SPOILERS START RIGHT AWAY
Anyway so the story is like, about this monster thing called The Bye Bye Man (which isn’t even a spoiler you can learn that from the trailer) and if you say his name or think it then he comes and gets you. Actually it’s more like the MORE you think about him and the MORE you say his name the closer he gets. He feeds on fear or something? Causes delusions and then people kill cause of it, I guess?
Alright so what we have is the main characters which are Elliot, Sasha, and John. I was bugged the whole movie because Elliot looks like a discount Elijah Wood, like I mean a WAY uglier Elijah Wood and I don’t even think Elijah is that hot to begin with but I’d never call him ugly either. Kind of middle line. They are renting this house on the cheap because obvious haunted house is obvious. Immediately there starts to be some crazy shit going down in there and whatever. Weird noises and scratches and all that. There’s a party for the ‘house warming’ which his brother brings his 8 year old daughter to. Which makes no sense. Why would you bring an 8 year old to what is clearly a frat party and then let her wander around with no supervision?
She goes upstairs to Elliot and Sasha’s bedroom and opens a door. Then she hears a coin drop and finds one under the nightstand. She looks at it and puts it back on the nightstand and goes to tell Elliot she found it. He goes to look at it and puts it back in the drawer but it falls out. He pulls out the drawer entirely to check for a hole or something and sees the mantra of the film “Don’t think it, don’t say it”. written on the lining of the drawer. Being the skeptic that he is (And I mean a higher level of skeptic than Dana Scully) he pulls back the liner to see the words “The bye bye man”.
After this point, there’s some crazy ass psychic girl named Kim who is there because she’s friends with Sasha and she wants to cleanse the house. They do a seance with her and she does minor things to “prove” that she’s psychic but Elliot’s not buying it. Then she suddenly starts yelling “Don’t think it don’t say it” and since Elliot hadn’t told anyone about it at that point (what he found I mean) it kind of provides “evidence” to the fact that maybe she’s psychic or something. Despite all of this, she totally stays there to try to have sex with John because why leave a house that you can clearly hear/see evil spirits in? Then again John was like SUPER hot with messed up good abs and muscle definition I don’t know I might have risked it. Why wasn’t he the main character? He was far more pleasant to look at.
The next morning, John takes Kim home and they talk about how he couldn’t get a boner and how she “wasn’t that into it” which is weird cause Elliot totally heard them making sex noises the night before when he went to investigate the clawing sounds. Whatever. John sees maggots crawling out of her eyes and in her hair and it’s implied that he saw that the night before while trying to fuck her (because he calls her dirty when he gets back) but there’s no further explanation offered.
At this point Elliot is hallucinating that his girlfriend is fucking John or something and she is even hallucinating about seeing John naked, not that I’m complaining. Elliot decides that he’s going to do research on this with Sasha and they head out the next day he promises to meet Sasha at 2:00pm. He goes to the library and she goes to some greenhouse somewhere to talk to a dude named Mr. Daisy because he’s the one who is renting them the house. Elliot searches the internet and database for “the bye bye man” though I kind of wonder why he couldn’t have done this at home or on his phone or before that point but whatever. No results come up. Then he types in “Don’t think it, don’t say it” and an article in the archives comes up there’s only one.
He reads about a reporter who reported on a case about this in 1969 where a teenager killed a bunch of people and said that “the bye bye man” told him to do it. Apparently just by knowing his name (which is The Bye Bye Man) you are “infected” and he comes to get you with his hell hound looking dog which I guess only eats the eyes out of your face because he didn’t seem to do much else? The Bye Bye Man also, I guess, waits until you accidentally kill someone due to a delusion or something before coming to feed his dog the eyeballs and then leaves? Didn’t seem like HE did much of anything he just made other humans do it for him.
Elliot tells this librarian woman about The Bye Bye Man and they seemed to be friends or something? Cause she ends up calling him at his house and talking to him like they are old pals but she was a 40 year old black woman and he was a skinny 20 year old hipster douche bag white kid so I have no idea how to explain that relationship. The Bye Bye Man makes him hallucinate so he ends up leaving the library too late and not meeting up with Sasha at the time he promised. Meanwhile she’s talking to Mr. Daisy and finds out that the nightstand where Elliot found the writing was owned by that original author.
At this point, Elliot goes to find psychic Kim again and I don’t know what was wrong with her lips but I didn’t like them, which was weird because overall I thought she was SUPER attractive but her lips seemed wrong? Back to my point. He tells Kim he believes her and needs her help but it seems that Kim already killed her roommate after realizing that telling people about this guy spreads it. He is driving Kim to his house to cleanse it or whatever and she sees some people on the side of the road, a car crash by train tracks. He pulls over and she gets out to run to help them but she’s just hallucinating. Elliot sees the hammer she used to kill her roommate and grabs it then chases after her like a lunatic setting up a scene where it looks like Elliot killed everyone, including Kim who is ultimately hit by a train.
Then Trinity hops out of the Matrix (The detective was played by the same actress I just don’t know the character name) and comes to investigate the crime. Without ever telling her the name of the Bye Bye man or even what’s going on, Elliot is cleared to leave. He finds the wife of the reporter who survived everything but it turns out that it’s only because she never heard the name of the man she just knows something weird is going on. Elliot somewhat figures out if you “aren’t afraid” then you can stop the delusions. To a point. That’s when he realizes he has to tell Sasha and John. John is all tied up and unconscious in the basement because Elliot hit him in the head with a bat before doing all of this and told Sasha, who was asleep, that he’d be back. Yeah because I’m sure she totally heard him and that would work.
I guess he didn’t tie John up too well, or even at all? Cause some how John is already getting up and he heads upstairs. Sasha is there and she sees him as Elliot and John starts hallucinating that Sasha is Kim (even though by this point Kim is dead and they all know it). John is running from what he thinks is dead Kim and eventually gets some scissors to stab her. I guess? because this is where it gets super confusing.
On his drive back home, Elliot runs over the librarian woman thinking she’s just a hallucination or something. He gets out of his car, she’s dead, he stumbled back home with the gun that the reporters wife gave him. The reporters wife basically said the only way to stop it is to kill everyone he told then kill himself but he’s all “yeah I’m not gonna do that lady”. He gets back home and then sees John trying to stab Sasha and fights him and shoots John, except John was actually Sasha. Yeah I don’t know how that happened either. Whatever. Now Sasha is dead and his brother with the douche bag name of Virgil shows up (who names their kid that?) with his daughter I think her name was Allison or something, doesn’t matter.
The Bye Bye Man is there and showing him that he’s gonna kill his brother and his wife and his niece after all of this crap so Elliot decides to shoot himself. Bye Bye man goes away. For the most part.
Trinity comes back into the Matrix to investigate this murder/suicide and explain to the chief officer that she was sure that there was something else going on when she released Elliot then makes a really outdated reference to Columbine. It turns out that John, despite the stabbing and fire is barely alive, so she runs over to the ambulance and pleads with him to tell her what’s going on and what’s happening. You see him mouth the words “bye bye man” and then cut to credits.
What can I say about this movie? It wasn’t awful, I will admit that. A lot of it didn’t make sense. The suspense was decent, the scares were decent. I like the fact that they didn’t have much of a backstory for the Bye Bye Man but I think there was too little of a story. It’s okay to make it vague but…as vague as they made it? Maybe not? I assume this is some kind of allegory for OCD people with intrusive thoughts? Possibly? it was still way better than Lights Out which rammed the concept of mental illness manifesting as a monster down your throat way to hard.
I’d probably give it a 5/10 because I’m glad I saw it, but I also wouldn’t say it’s worth the ticket price. Give it a watch when you can rent it or livestream it on netflix or torrent it or something. I know you will read a lot of “THIS IS THE DUMBEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME” reviews but it really isn’t. I think they’d have done a lot better if they hadn’t named the monster the Bye Bye Man…but I can’t really think of what else I would have personally called him either.