The Bye Bye Man, D
Rated PG-13, 96 minutes
"Don't think it, don't say it" is the mantra of the derivative, ridiculous new supernatural horror film "The Bye Bye Man" though it really should be "Don't see it." There's nothing notable about the film or its boogeyman, except it features a cameo from Oscar-winner Faye Dunaway, star of such classics as "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Network."
Three college students (Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount and Cressida Bonas) move into an old, off-campus house, where they find themselves hunted by a supernatural entity called The Bye Bye Man (played by veteran actor and contortionist Doug Jones) who may be responsible for possessing various people and causing them to commit killing sprees throughout recent history. The students discover the origins of The Bye Bye Man and find that there is only one way to avoid his curse: don't say or think his name, because once The Bye Bye Man gets inside your head, he takes control.
Directed by Stacy Title and written by her husband Jonathan Penner (both of "Let the Devil Wear Black"), "The Bye Bye Man" is a forgettable, exceedingly pointless entry in the boogeyman horror genre, mainly because it's so generic and watered-down, lacking any sense of coherency or thrills. The first two acts are a slog as these students wander around seeing things that may or may not be there; the last few minutes have a few jolts, but even those jolts may be unintentionally laughable (just how and why would a person stand in the middle of the road with a knife - there's never a happy ending to that). Even the minimal special-effects, which mostly consist of a heavily made-up Jones wandering around with a long, black cape and a large, useless CGI dog, don't have much impact, either.
The handsome, bland leads are all unmemorable and clearly aren't strong enough to save the film from its lackluster material. Dunaway must've needed the quick cash and attention for the few minutes she's onscreen (she's a welcome distraction in a "wait, is that...?" type of moment), and "The Bye Bye Man" also manages to waste the talents of Carrie Anne-Moss, who once had a thriving career when she made the "The Matrix" films, as well as Cleo King, aka Nana from the TV show "Mike and Molly," who steals a couple of scenes here too.
Considering some of the awful new films that are released in January, "The Bye Bye Man" comes really as no big surprise, though it'll be a bigger surprise if it's remembered within a week or two of its release. If you really need to see a movie this weekend, this one isn't it.