The Very Blah Man
Three friends in Wisconsin move into a creepy off campus house. Of course they find doors opening and shutting on their own, weird noises and the girl begins to feel sickly. A seance reveals there is negative energy inside the house. Turns out that the side table has a name carved out. If you say or think about the ‘Bye Bye Man’ he haunts you and kills you. Yes, it’s that predictable and hence really boring.
The house is creepy, sure. And the three people who move in don’t check why there are smaller doors inside the bedroom, along the corridors. As audience you know creepy things will emerge from those small doors, or lure regular people into the darkness. So you watch with sense of ‘when do the characters get to know the evil’? Alas, you’ve already watched Conjuring 2 and nothing, not even the Bye Bye Man can be scarier than that experience of seeing the nun inside the house.
The idea of evil getting inside your head is fabulous. ‘Don’t say it, don’t think it!’ is a super creepy mantra but it’s not used right. It’s just that the story unfolds in the most ridiculous manner. Eliot and his girlfriend Sasha and their friend John are affected by the evil because Elliot discovers the mantra and repeats ‘Bye Bye Man’ not understanding what it is all about. Of course he googles the name! And at the library a really friendly librarian (do they even exist?) helps him unearth the story from the sixties.
Trouble is, if no one knows the name because the man from the sixties killed everyone, then how come he left so much of the ‘forbidden’ name everywhere? It’s a tad unbelievable. Plus like all horror movies the girl begins to cough and is feverish. Where did that come from? What about the coins? What is the thing with the evil dog? There’s so much introduced and nothing is done about it. It feels more like a let-down rather than scary.
The last twenty minutes of the film are what horror films are all about: blood and gore and mayhem. And all of a sudden we have Carrie Ann Moss turning up as investigator. Where did she come from? You sit up and take notice but again, her appearance is like not thought out at all. Elliot says he won’t say the name or she is sure to die and she just tamely agrees! Then they introduce Faye Dunaway in an interesting scary scene where she begins to explain why she survived, but then again Elliot forgets the lesson and lets the Bye Bye Man enter his head. By now, the audience is fed up and ready to go home. The evil has failed.
(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)