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By Mark Bell | March 14, 2013

As Sarah Gertrude Shapiro’s short film Sequin Raze opens, we’re on the set of a The Bachelor-style reality show in its final moments, as bachelor Jonathan (Beau Bonness) makes his selection between Catherine (Jennie-Kate De Shon) and Jessica (Anna Camp). He chooses Catherine, and the production team leaps into action, recording the joy of the win and the agony of Jessica’s defeat. Which is where producer Rebecca (Ashley Williams) comes in, as it is her job to get Jessica to do that one final interview, mere minutes after she’s been emotionally devastated.

What follows is an emotional battle royale of different mind games played between Rebecca and Jessica, as the former tries to get exactly the moments she needs for the show, and the latter does her best to not go along with it. Of course, the jaded Rebecca isn’t too thrilled with what she’s tasked to do either, showing some serious exhaustion and detachment to the entire ordeal, though she seems to get a leg up when the show’s psychologist (Frances Conroy) gives her some information about Jessica’s psyche evaluation to use against her. In the end, will Rebecca get her shot, or will Jessica get the last laugh?

This isn’t a short film that is played for laughs, nor is it some false melodramatic extreme. It’s two people going up against each other in an emotional moment, with all the potential fallout that entails. A film like this lives or dies by the performances, and Sequin Raze does not disappoint.

Both Ashley Williams and Anna Camp bring their best, and it’s fascinating to watch and almost as emotionally draining to experience (in a good way). The short could’ve taken a few gimmicky twists, thankfully it doesn’t, and I would’ve gone along because of how strong the acting is in the film. It’s raw emotional reality wrapped in all the mind games and dishonesty one can muster, and it’s brilliant.

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