College students Elliot (Douglas Smith, When We Rise, Big Love) and John (Lucien Laviscount, Snatch, Scream Queens) have been best friends since they were young, and decide to rent a house off-campus. Joining them is Elliot’s girlfriend Sasha (Cressida Bonas, Doctor Thorne). Elliot is madly in love with Sasha, and dreams of having a family/relationship with her like the one his older brother Virgil (Michael Trucco, Battlestar Gallactica), has with his own perfect wife and young daughter.
When the trio arrives at their new residence, they immediately start exploring the creepy old house. While doing so, Elliot unwittingly unlocks a deadly evil that had been dormant for almost 50 years. Over the next few days, the roommates start hearing strange noises and seeing inexplicable things. So Sasha seeks the help of friend Kim (Jenna Kanell), who holds a seance and does a spiritual cleansing of the house, but during the ceremony Kim sees something horrible that scares her and sends her running. Eliott and the others start investigating the legacy of the Bye Bye Man, but it may be too late.
The Bye Bye Man is like a virus—once you hear his name, he has control of you. The more you try to not think about his name, the more you do, and the closer he gets. Once he’s in your head, the Bye Bye Man can make you see and hear things that aren’t really there. And these visions cause his victims perform gruesome, unspeakable acts. This supernatural creature has been unleashed back into the world, and the bodies are starting to pile up, and the police are starting to notice. Detective Shaw (Carrie-Anne Mos, The Matrix) suspects that Eliott and his friends have some connection to the incidents, but can’t quite figure it out—and maybe she’s better off not knowing! Elliot, Sasha and John must find a way to stop the Bye Bye Man, but they cannot tell anyone the truth about what’s going on for fear of spreading the creature’s legend to even more innocent people. But time is running out—the evil creature already has his hooks in them and is trying to turn them against one another, and they no longer know who or what they can trust.
The Bye Bye Man is a really well done supernatural thriller. The film opens with a gruesome scene set in 1969 as the Bye Bye Man’s latest victim tries to put an end to his terror. (The unrated cut of the film adds a little more carnage to this sequence.) Then the film jumps to the present, with the tension slowly building as the roommates move into and explore the creepy old house. There are, of course, the usual fun horror movie fake-outs and jump-scare moments, but the viewer also gets some glimpses at the actual danger lurking in the shadows. Things get ratcheted up even more as the Bye Bye Man is unleashed and starts to turn these characters we care about against one another. The characters (and the viewers) start to question what is real and what isn’t, and get a real sense of the pending doom that will come to fruition unless Elliot and the others can find a way to stop this evil before it fully consumes them. This all builds to a very exciting, action-packed conclusion.
The Blu-ray presentation looks and sounds great. There is this beautiful but creepy atmosphere throughout the film, and the picture remains clear and detailed in both the darker and the daytime scenes. The soundtrack not only provides clear dialogue, but also utilizes all channels to help heighten the suspense by immersing the viewer in the terror on screen. Surround and stereo channels are well utilized to add direction to scraping sounds and to the ominous sounds of a dropping coin. This helps the viewer to experience the same mystery and terror the characters are feeling as they try to figure out where these creepy sounds are coming from.
The release offers both unrated and rated versions of the film, which various depending on which of the three included formats you are viewing. From what I could tell, the added three minutes in the unrated cut are mostly comprised of additional bloody shots of victims, and don’t really affect the overall narrative of the film. Unfortunately, this Blu-ray release includes absolutely no on-disc bonus material.
The discs come packed in a standard Blu-ray keep case with a cardboard slipcover. There is also an insert with a redemption code for an UltraViolet/Digital HD copy of the Unrated version of the film. Universal’s recent release of Sing also included a code for a bonus digital movie via Universal’s new UPHERewards program. While there is no insert in this Blu-ray, the release is listed on the site as a qualifying title and purchasers should be able to earn a free digital movie by submitting the receipt from their purchase. More details can be found at UPHERewards.com.
- Theatrical and Unrated Versions
- 1080p / Widescreen 1.85:1
- Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Descriptive Video Service 2.0 (Theatrical Version Only)
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Theatrical Version Only
- 1080p / Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
- Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, Descriptive Video Service 2.0 (Theatrical Version Only)
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Unrated Version Only
- Digital HD copy of the film, redeemable via UltraViolet (Universal, Flixster or Vudu) OR iTunes
Digital HD (for redemption deadline, see NBCUcodes.com):
Besides the option to view either the Rated or Unrated version of the film, there is no other supplemental material included on the disc.
The Bye Bye Man is a really well done thriller that builds some nice tension over the course of the film, slowly revealing the supernatural threat that the protagonists must overcome. The Blu-ray presentation looks and sounds great, but the discs do not contain any supplemental material at all. The release also includes a digital copy of the unrated version of the film. The release comes recommended based on the quality of film itself, however, since there is no bonus material, those making a blind buy may wish to rent it first or wait for a price drop.