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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Movie Review: The Bye Bye (2017), Fear and The Concept of the Adaptation

Starring: Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas, Doug Jones
Directed By: Stacey Title
Written By: Johnathan Penner
Release Date: January 13, 2017
Rating: F

My Thoughts:
If you're like me, when you walked out of The Bye Bye Man, you were
 probably thinking something along the lines of: 'What the hell did I just 
pay 12 dollars to see?' And this is just based off of the nonsensical 
plot of the film. However, one thing that caught my attention 
in the credits was the fact that this movie is an adaptation of a short 
story called, The Bridge to Body Island by Robert Damon Schneck. 

In the book, the story is about a some college students who decide
to play a Ouija board which brings them in contact with spirit of
 The Bye Bye Man, who was once deranged serial killer. The board 
also informs them that the more they think or talk about The Bye Bye Man,
the quicker he gets to you. The Bye Bye Man in the film looks just how he's 
described in the novel with the hood and the pale skin, but apparently 
The Bye Bye Man was an albino orphan that got sick of being teased and
 turned to murder. He ran away from his group home and began train hopping,
 murdering tons of people along the way. Trains are a huge motif in the film
and though their constant presence is never explained in the film, it's
important to note that trains typically symbolize adventure and new
beginnings, but 
here they given a completely different representation since The
Bye Bye Man is literally murdering people as they board the train, so they 
never even get to begin their journey. The same things goes for the film
 because hearing a train whistle symbolizes that The Bye Bye Man 
is near. And the closer he is, the closer you are to having your journey 
cut short.

The most interesting factor about the film is the idea that The Bye Bye
 Man can manifest himself and find you the more you think about him. It's 
also quite interesting that he can also manipulate the people who know about 
him into doing unspeakable things. If you don't know his name, he cannot 
affect you. The ideology behind that can be applied to myths and fear in general.
Fear is mental construct. We only begin to fear things in general because 
our brain makes up believe whatever we're thinking about will cause us
harm. If we've never seen or heard about this frightening concept, it's as 
if it doesn't exist. The Bye Bye Man doesn't exist if you don't know about
him, but as soon as you hear his name, regardless if you attempt to forget 
about him, his name is still embedded in your subconscious no matter how far 
back you attempt to push it. It can come back into the forefront of your
brain at any time. This is why The Bye Bye Man does these mind tricks on 
his victims while they attempt to not think about him. Even if you block it 
from the conscious part of your brain, the name is still there. The only way to 
protect yourself is to be completely ignorant of the fact it exists. You need to 
not even find out about the myth. If you never find out about The Bye Bye Ma, 
you're safe 

 A lot of information like The Bye Bye Man's background is
 cut from the film even though most of this information 
probably would've saved this movie from being the mess it was. If 
The Bye Bye Man had followed Schneck's story a bit closer, it may have
been a better film than it was, but a lot of people have problems with
adaptations. When it comes to adaptations, most people are upset that the
film and the novel aren't completely the same. However, you've got to think
 about the differences between a book and a film. A book is told through 
words, so what you'rereading is visualized in your head as if your thoughts
 were a film which is why people tend to get so upset when some movie 
adaptations change things because now the vision they've had for 
the book is now completely skewed. Books are inhibitors for expanding our
imaginations by reading into someone else's world and exploring the way they 
live in our heads. These imaginings are far more personal than the ones we see 
on a movie screen simply because they're coming from our perspective
as if it is us going through these situations ourselves. "Your mind makes it real,"
 (Matrix).

 On the opposite
side of the spectrum, when it comes to film, you've got to look at how a
 script/novel is read and adapted to the screen. When you
reading something, you're getting a direct link to the character's thoughts
and emotions. You're getting information pulled from the very brain of the
 character, which is something that is harder to do in film simply
because these things have to be told visually. A lot of people feel that 
because of this, film adaptations ruin the film form because when you're 
limited to creating only what's on a sheet of paper, you're stunting  a
 director's creative abilities. This is why director's tend to stray from 
their source material. They want to keep the author's vision alive, as well as
their own. In order to craft this vision, everything is conformed to visualization.
Themes, motifs and certain literary aspects are much harder to put 
to screen as visuals than just having them listed on a page. 

This is why I was so interested about the fact that The Bye Bye Man was
based on a book. The concept of this as a story is interesting, but why they 
chose to leave out so much perplexes me. Adaptations sell. That's a simple fact 
and it's the reason why people keep making them, but no one would realize this
film was an adaptation if they hadn't caught that line in the credits like I did and
I'm glad I did because the story was way more information and chilling than
the movie. Like I stated before, while you already get more information 
from a book simply because it's a book and you can infer more from
words on a page rather than a moving pictures, but if you have something to
work off of, it should make things a bit easier, right? 

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