A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Bye Bye Man is a horror movie that could appeal to fans of "so bad it's good" films. Violence and sex are the main issues. For the former, expect guns and shooting, minor gore, beatings, stabbings and killings, and some scary stuff and monsters. For the latter, college-age characters are shown in suggestive situations; there's no graphic nudity, but sex noises are heard, and there's the suggestion of nakedness. Other scenes briefly show naked bottoms, a male character appears shirtless, and a female is shown in revealing outfits and underthings. Language isn't frequent but includes a use of "f--k," plus "s--t" and more. There's some drinking at a college party, with references to characters being drunk but no other consequences. The movie was originally rated R but edited to earn a PG-13.
What's the story?
In THE BYE BYE MAN, three college students -- Elliot (Douglas Smith); his girlfriend, Sasha (Cressida Bonas); and his best friend, John (Lucien Laviscount) -- move into a creepy old house together. Strange things start happening, and a friend of theirs, psychic Kim (Jenna Kanell), picks up bad vibes. Elliot discovers a drawer in an old night table, covered in a scrawl that reads "don't think it, don't say it." He finds the name "The Bye Bye Man" underneath. From that moment on, things aren't the same. A mysterious monster starts getting inside the trio's heads, making them see and believe things and react in terrible ways. Before long, people start dying, and Elliot searches for a way to stop the awful cycle.
Is it any good?
Many horror movies are bad, but it's rare to find one that, like The Bye Bye Man, is so bad it's funny. Whether the problem was in the puzzling screenplay or in the production itself, something went dismally, hysterically wrong. The Bye Bye Man starts out deceptively fine, but it quickly evolves into a series of scenes in which characters who sound nothing like actual humans speak and interact with one another. Their conversations are weird, awkward, and often forced, pushing plot information on viewers. (Veteran actors like Faye Dunaway and Carrie-Anne Moss look positively lost in their supporting roles.)
The scary stuff -- borrowed heavily from Candyman, The Ring, Final Destination, and others -- is just as pathetic, despite Doug Jones portraying the title monster. The movie's combination of poor visual effects, shopworn horror techniques, and uninspired makeup make this feel like a castoff from a dusty video shelf. Bad movie fans may enjoy a laugh at the way the characters drive without looking at the road or at some really obvious, bad stereotyping. But most viewers won't even want to say "hello" to The Bye Bye Man.
Talk to your kids about ...
Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of scary/monster movies?
Do the characters (or viewers) learn a lesson from what happens? How is the monster best dealt with? Who wins?
How is sex depicted in the movie? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
What is a "so bad it's good" movie? Does this one qualify?
- In theaters: January 13, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: April 25, 2017
- Cast: Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas
- Director: Stacy Title
- Studio: STX Entertainment
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: terror, horror violence, bloody images, sexual content, thematic elements, partial nudity, some language and teen drinking
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.