It needs some work but it’s a nice house: large rooms and furniture come with it. So the three college students who need a place to live decide to rent it. Elliot (Douglas Smith), his girlfriend Sasha (Cressida Bonas) and his friend from childhood John (Lucien Laviscount) move in. Immediately they start seeing things. A tall skeletal man in a hooded robe moves about. And of course they hear noises. Kim (Jenna Kanell), a friend of Sasha’s, conducts a séance and realizes that these occurrences are not Elliot’s, Sasha’s and John’s imagination. There’s really something going on in that house. Elliot goes to the college library to research some writings he found in the house and links a mass murder almost 50 years ago to the events going on where they live.
“The Bye Bye Man” is a low-budget film starring a group of relative unknowns, but it just somehow comes together. And it gets our highest rating, See It! First and foremost, it’s not predictable. It does have unlikely character responses, typical of horror films. But isn’t full of “you’ve seen it all before” plotlines. The stress of living in the house creates some intriguing conflicts among Elliot, Sasha and John.
I have written before about the importance of writers creating characters that viewers connect with. The screenwriters here succeed, because this group is one you’ll root for. The actors are relatively unknown but proffer solid performances. Bonas, perhaps not so well-known yet as an actress, did recently draw international attention as Prince Harry’s steady girlfriend.
Veteran Actress Faye Dunaway has a small supporting role. “The Bye Bye Man” gets a B+ for cast diversity. It’s very diverse in terms of Black actors, including Laviscount in a leading role, but Hispanics and Asians are non-existent in this movie.
“The Bye Bye Man” was shot in Cleveland in five weeks with a minuscule budget of $10 million. Also, it ends in a way that opens the door for a sequel.
It’s rated PG-13 (for terror, horror violence, bloody images, sexual content, thematic elements, partial nudity, some language and teen drinking) and perfectly timed at 96 minutes. And it’s a See It!