An Australian teen’s obsession with an anonymous sex app ventures into dangerous territory when he is invited into the Blue Room in Samuel Van Grinsven’s stylish gay thriller Sequin in a Blue Room.
No names, no contact, no stringsby Chris Drew
CAUTION: Here be spoilers
Sequin in a Blue Room, the unique title of Samuel Van Grinsven’s feature debut works both literally and metaphorically; titular character Sequin (Connor Leach, Preacher TV series) enters a room bathed in blue neon light but is also a rare shiny presence in a highly sexual world.
The 16-year-old protagonist spends his life scrolling through ‘Anon’ arranging hook-ups with older men and then, after sex, blocking them as soon as he steps outside their apartment or hotel room.
Sequin is both his profile name and trademark; a sequin-covered top completes his hook-up look.
After meeting in a hotel, 45-year-old ‘B’ (Ed Wightman,
Sequin is thrilled when he is invited to the Blue Room an anonymous silent group sex party. Later he enters a blue maze with many translucent curtains barely concealing various nameless trysts.
Sequin spots, and successfully avoids B, before sparking an instant connection with a handsome young black guy (Samuel Barrie, Don’t Come Back – short). They have a tender and passionate encounter before he whispers to Sequin to “find me out there” as he leaves.
From there, Sequin’s increasingly desperate hunt for him drives the narrative, even risking a reconnection with B in an attempt to use him to find his dream man.
There are superb heart-racing thriller elements with the stakes getting progressively higher as Sequin puts himself into increasingly dangerous situations on his blinkered quest.
In real life we see Sequin’s deficiency at sustaining relationships; his loving father (Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Bad Bush) is continually snubbed when he reaches out to Sequin and genuine interest from Tommy (Simon Croker, Nekrotronic) at school is only hesitantly reciprocated.
Late on Sequin does movingly connect with kindly drag queen Virginia (Anthony Brandon Wong, Little Fish), who he meets in a contrasting red-lit room, and accepts Virginia’s support.
There are nice touches throughout from a recurring motive of curtains – hiding Sequin from an obscured real world which he can see but does not enter – to a teacher discussing the obsessive nature of love in the background while Sequin furiously scrolls through his phone.
Youngster Connor Leach makes a compelling lead by portraying Sequin as a bright light who craves desire but also a typically frustrating and selfish teen.
Van Grinsven’s gripping film portrays the intoxicating thrills and underlying risks of hook-up culture and is a superbly heightened reflection of young gay life in the 21st century digital age.
Sequin in a Blue Room is released via Peccadillo Pictures on UK/Ireland digital platforms from 9 April 2021. The film is released in the US & Scandinavia from 17 May 2021.