Pretty Boy (2021) [Fright Fest 2021] 

Immediately following Blind, this sequel takes the lead character and her stalker and puts them in the midst of a Valentine’s Day party where the party goers are set-up to be victims of the titular character. 

Where the first film is a stalking/love-turned-to-obsession film, this one is a straight up slasher for a good part of its runtime, bringing more kills and a good amount of blood. Written by Joe Knetter and director by Marvel Walz, the duo who brought the first film to the screen, this is a continuation that takes a few turns deeper into slasher territory. Here, more kills, more violence, more Pretty Boy obsessing over Faye, and less screentime for Faye herself. The story evolves here into another sub-genre and then takes a new turn in the last third, making a film that is quite different from the first, but still in the same universe in a very clear manner. More characters are introduced and they do not have the same connection to Faye as the people in the first film, they are here to be victims and victims they will be. This leads to a good amount of kills and a lot of blood. These kills are mostly satisfying from a horror fan point of view, but the lack of presence from Faye who is reduced to very few scenes is something that is felt throughout the film. The story had to evolve, so adding the new kill-fodder is something understandable. 

The cast here is decently good with some performances much better than the others. Sarah French as Faye gives a performance on par with the first film, continuing on with what is some of her best work. Here she gives a great performance again, making the viewer wish there was more of her on screen as her screen time is greatly reduced from the first film. A surprising presence here is Dave Sheridan who at first seems a bit extra, but eventually gives a performance that is on point for his character and makes sense within the universe at play. As an actor most know for his comedic horror work, this is something that works great for him and something he should be doing more of. In the titular character of Pretty Boy, actor Jed Rowen gives a very physical performance in that he has no lines once again. Here he gives the performances as a killer who is imposing, yet there is something else not quite clear about him. This leads to the final third where he gets to act a little bit more through his presence and how he moves. There is more to Pretty Boy than a straight-up slasher killer, so hopefully there is more of him to come. 

The look of the film here is very much 80s through a nostalgia lens, something many films have been doing and failing at. The difference here is that the film is not set in the 1980s, but rather in current day at a party inspired by the much-loved decade. This helps with the fact that most nostalgia films go for the bright neon colors and all the bubble gum feel you can handle without realizing that the 80s were a whole lot browner than that. So, keeping the film in current day and calling back to the nostalgia saves this film from having the disconnect and allows it to go full pink, neon, happy, bubbly 80s. This 80s feel/mood is assisted by the cinematography by Michael Su, a now regular in indie horror/scifi/action world, who clearly knows how to frame a shot and move with the characters without giving the audience too much shaky cam and actually allowing them to see what is going on. Here, he does more than allow the audience to see the action, he gives the film a bit more mood and some fantastic imagery. 

Pretty Boy is a good sequel to Blind, switching things up just enough to keep things interesting. While the 80s nostalgia is full on, the film also makes the transition to full-fledged slasher for the first two thirds rather easily. The cast is decent, but more Faye would have been a great idea as it seems like she takes a bit too much of a backseat to the kill-fodder rest of the cast. The film has a great look and is a fun watch, only downside here may have been in a lack of attention to details in what is in the background, some character details, and a few other things, but not everyone is going to notice these, so go forth and seek this one out.