*/**** Image A- Sound A
starring Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas, Faye Dunaway
screenplay by Jonathan Penner, based on "The Bridge to Body Island" by Robert Damon Schneck
directed by Stacy Title
by Bill Chambers The Bye Bye Man begins as Terminator: Nebbish, with a Poindexter in a sweater vest named Larry (Leigh Whannell, of Saw fame) pulling up to a suburban home and asking the lady of the house, Jane (Lara Knox), if she told anybody "about the name." Affirmative. Larry then returns to his vehicle, retrieves a shotgun, and blasts a hole through Jane's front door. We see a man jump out of his wheelchair in the living-room window in a tiny, easy-to-miss background detail I suspect would've been airbrushed out of a more respectable film, because the prologue ends there in the theatrical cut. In the unrated version on Blu-ray, it continues on to show Larry entering the house, finishing Jane off, executing the wheelchair dude, Rick (Andrew Gorell), as he futilely drags himself across the carpet, and grimly, dutifully marching down the street to kill some neighbours Rick just threw under the bus. Smoothly staged in one take, the sequence reminds not-unfavourably of A Serious Man, getting most of its period authenticity--the year is 1969--and middle-class dread from an aesthetic ape of that film. (The chyron-ascribed Madison, WI setting is pretty close to Coen Brothers territory, too.) It's suitably horrific. Until, that is, you start thinking about Rick: Why does his escape plan involve slumping to the floor like a sack of potatoes? The whole point of wheelchairs, see, is that they have wheels--an innovation that gave disabled people an efficient, dignified way to get a bag of chips from the kitchen or flee an axe murderer. As we will soon discover, the titular Bye Bye Man makes his marks do absurd, irrational things; the problem is, The Bye Bye Man doesn't quite know how to portray this without being hilarible itself.