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.
"The Cell" is a bizarre mixture of science fiction and serial murders, mind games and pop psychology, wild images and haunting special effects. It's a thriller and a fantasy, a police movie and a venture into the mind of a killer so perverse he could see Hannibal Lecter and raise him. For all of its visual pyrotechnics, it's also a story where we care about the characters; there's a lot at stake at the end, and we're involved. I know people who hate it, finding it pretentious or unrestrained; I think it's one of the best films of the year.
Jennifer Lopez stars as Catherine Deane, a social worker who has a knack for establishing rapport with troubled clients. She is recruited for a project in which experimental technology is used to establish a link between her mind and that of a little boy locked inside a coma. Can she coax him out? The opening images of black stallions and desert vistas show her riding across the sands in a flowing white dress, and then finding the little boy in a landscape filled with stark Dali trees, and almost making contact, before. . . .
The director, named Tarsem, uses this story to establish the mind-sharing methodology. The mind trips take place in a sci-fi laboratory, with earnest scientists peering through plate-glass windows at their eerie subjects, who are suspended in air wearing virtual reality gear. We meet the millionaire parents of the boy, learn about his problems and get to know Catherine, who is played by Lopez as quiet, grave and confident.
In a parallel story, the FBI finds the body of the latest victim of a serial killer who drowns his captives and then makes them up to look like dolls. Vince Vaughn plays an agent named Novak, who believes the killer has a ritual he goes through--a ritual that means his latest victim has only hours to live before a clockwork mechanism brings about her death. Using slim clues and brilliant lab work, the FBI is able to capture the killer, a vile man named Carl Stargher (Vincent D'Onofrio). But how to get him to reveal where his latest captive is hidden? The FBI turns to Catherine Deane and the scientists in charge (Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Dylan Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince), who warn that she risks psychic harm by venturing into Stargher's unwholesome subconscious.