The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
Brian De Palma’s “Sisters” was made more or less consciously as an homage to Alfred Hitchcock, but it has a life of its own and it’s a neat little mystery picture. The opening is pure Hitchcock. The movie begins with events so commonplace they’re almost trivial, and the horror of the situation is revealed only gradually. A lithe fashion model and a young newspaperman meet on a quiz show (it’s called “Peeping Tom” and asks the question, what would you do if you were inadvertently made voyeur-for-a-day?). She wins a set of stainless steel cutlery, he wins dinner for two at a supper club, and they decide they like each other.
After a few brushes with a mysterious stranger who may or may not be her former husband, the young couple spend the night together and in the morning he is brutally knifed to death. And, no, I haven’t given away too much of the plot. Because there are a few complications. For example, the girl is half of a famous set of Siamese twins. She’s the nice one, but her sister isn’t--not at all.
Then there’s the crusading young girl newspaper reporter, kind of a women’s lib Lois Lane, who lives across the courtyard and witnesses the crime (a la “Rear Window”). She calls the police, but they resent a recent series of exposes she’s written. And when they visit the so-called murder apartment they find no blood, no body, no signs of a crime; only the sweet young fashion model.
I don’t suppose I can reveal another line of the plot without spoiling some of De Palma’s nice surprises. But the movie works not so much because of the twists and turns and complications as because of the performances. In a movie industry filled with young actresses who look great but can’t act so well (especially when they’ve got to play intelligent characters), De Palma has cast two of the exceptions: Margot Kidder and Jennifer Salt.
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