Maybe it's a just a sign of the Blumhouse-era horror-movie world we find ourselves in, but there's something refreshing about a scare flick that (a) actually shows you its monster occasionally and (b) gives you a definite reason to be afraid of it. So while The Bye Bye Man may boast the stupidest-named bogeyman since the Babadook, his actual presence makes everything in the movie surrounding him better.
The character of the Bye Bye Man hails from Robert Damon Schneck's anthology The President's Vampire, but the character was essentially Clive Barker's Candyman. The new wrinkle is a good one: Rather than having to say a name five times aloud, one need only think of the Bye Bye Man's name to have him come for you. For anyone who has ever had that middle-of-the-night paranoia that thinking about bad things could cause them to happen, this is the monster born of your anxiety. And since he's played by Doug Jones, he's also born of fandom.
And once he does find you -- or the three college kids in the movie -- his weapon is even more paranoia, fed by detailed hallucinations that play on your fears and weaknesses. Think that person you just slept with is unhygienic? Watch maggots come out of her eyes! Anxious to help people and save lives? Here's an imaginary car crash with injured victims … in the path of a real train! If you miss the slasher icons of old and have little patience for the reboot attempts they get periodically, it's nice to see at least a worthy attempt to add to that pantheon.