Pretty Boy Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Hollywood Media Bridge
Directed by Marcel Walz
Written by Joe Knetter
2021, 88 minutes, Not Yet Rated
FrightFest International Premiere on 27th August 2021
Sarah French as Faye
Jed Rowen as Pretty Boy
Devanny Pinn as Chelsie
Heather Grace Hanock as Rayna
Marcel Walz’s Blind was the unsettling story of a blind actress and the monstrous masked stalker lurking inside her home. Ending with the deranged Pretty Boy (Jed Rowen) finally making his presence known to Faye (Sarah French), Walz left viewers with quite the cliffhanger.
Picking up exactly where Blind left off, this sequel finds Faye in the arms of Pretty Boy, abducted from her home in the Hollywood Hills. Together they crash a Valentine’s Day party, with Pretty Boy leaving Faye handcuffed to a bed while he makes short work of everyone else. Where the previous film went relatively light on the body count and gore, the sequel goes all in on the carnage, turning Pretty Boy into a prom-suited Jason Voorhees. Pretty Boy is Walz’s bloody valentine to 80s slasher films.
A bigger body count calls for an influx of fresh meat. Preston (Jake Red) and his friends aren’t a terribly compelling lot, but Pretty Boy doesn’t give the audience a chance to really get to know anyone beyond its two leads. As though making up for the lack of slaughter in Blind, Pretty Boy wastes little time in murdering everyone in his path. What was wrong with Faye’s isolated, peaceful home isn’t really explained, but it’s a lot of fun seeing Pretty Boy go to work.
This is more traditional slasher fare than its predecessor, but Walz doesn’t lose sight of what made the first film work so well – Pretty Boy himself. Jed Rowen continues to impress in the role, given even more to work with this time around, and making a truly imposing villain out of it. Helpless victim Faye doesn’t get as much to do – although she is at least aware of her stalker’s existence this time around – leaving French waiting patiently on the sidelines while Pretty Boy has all the fun.
Like its predecessor, Pretty Boy is at its best when it gets weird. While the first two acts follow a traditional slasher trajectory, the film veers off-course for its second half, peeking under the mask to see what makes its villain tick. While less is generally more when it comes to making a great horror villain, Walz and writer Joe Knetter strike a good balance of explaining Pretty Boy while not giving too much away. For all the 80s stabbing and slashing, Pretty Boy bears more in common with the tragic monsters of The Phantom (of the Opera), Count Dracula and The Creature (from the Black Lagoon) than any Freddy, Jason or Michael. Faye, then, is his damsel in distress, screaming and helpless against her lovelorn stalker. If there's any modern slasher icon Pretty Boy shares a heritage with, it's Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
With Pretty Boy, Walz’s sharply-dressed monster takes centre stage. Some may miss the oddness and sheer creepiness of Blind, but this is a stylish, smart throwback to 80s horror. Brimming with gore and atmosphere, it’s a confident slasher sequel with a real vision.
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