Sequin in a Blue Room
A gay 16-year-old lad with a passion for anonymous one night stands gets in hot water when one conquest doesn't take kindly to being pushed aside
The thriller potential of location-based gay dating apps like Grindr is sharply explored in this stylish first feature from Australian filmmaker Samuel Van Grinsven. The app’s GPS positioning is designed for convenience, alerting horny users to their nearest potential sexual partner, but in Sequin in a Blue Room, the number indicating the proximity in metres between you and the nearest user takes on a sinister dimension. It’s the 21st century equivalent of "the calls are coming from inside the house" trope or the blinking motion tracker in Aliens.
As well as operating as an erotic thriller, Sequin in a Blue Room acts as a coming-of-age movie and a rather conservative cautionary tale. The Sequin of the title is a hedonistic 16-year-old Sydney schoolboy (played brilliantly by charismatic greenhorn Conor Leach) who's exploring his sexuality, which in this case involves embarking on a string of anonymous, strictly one-time-only hookups. Sequin blocks each conquest before the bedsheets cool. However, one of these one-night-stands – an older, closeted brute with a wife – takes exception to being brushed off.
The plot machinations are old-hat (it’s basically a twink-daddy Fatal Attraction) but Van Grinsven’s woozy atmosphere and formal experimentation make Sequin in a Blue Room worth seeking out. A central sequence set within the eponymous “Blue Room”, a pop-up sex club filled with improbably buff men, is dreamy and seductive, all blue light and woozy sound design, while a fondness for frontal close-ups makes the most of Leach’s expressive face and sly charm. It's an impressive calling card.
Released 9 Apr by Peccadillo Pictures; certificate 18