We’re All Going to The World’s Fair
Starring: Anna Cobb & Michael J. Rogers
Written, Directed, and Edited by: Jane Schoenbrun
“Hi, everyone. I’m Casey. Welcome to my channel. I’m going to be taking The World’s Fair Challenge. Let’s get started…”
Creepypasta, modern indie filmmaking, and adolescent disconnection collide in the unnerving and engrossing We’re All Going to The World’s Fair. One of the hottest ticket screenings at this year’s Nightstream Film Festival.
We’re Going to The World’s Fair comes with an achingly simple premise. A young, horror-obsessed girl (a powerfully honest debut for Anna Cobb) catches wind of a new “horror game”; one based around a ritualistic evoking of The World’s Fair. After inching into the trend, she comes in contact with another “player” of the “game”, a squirrely, but wonderfully emotive Michael J. Rogers. He warns that she’s in danger, in risk of falling down the rabbit hole even more.
But as young Casey continues making her videos, and diving deeper into this “game”, the lines between reality, online, and fantasy become dangerously blurred. Putting Casey and her house at risk for something much, much darker.
Operating with the same reverence and seriousness as a season of Channel Zero, We’re All Going to The World’s Fair again makes creepypasta ACTUALLY creepy. Alongside being authentically told and presented to boot. Anchored around a bravura debut performance from lead Anna Cobb.
Told in loosely collected vignettes, all framed through laptops, smartphones, and Skype, writer/director Jane Schoenbrun draws the audience deep into this insular world. Though we never get too many solid details about the “World’s Fair Challenge” and it’s origins, aside from some scant lamp shading dialogue, We’re All Going to The World’s Fair succeeds even without it. And though the film is largely bloodless, it still mines an impressive amount of unease. Dread even, throughout its runtime.
However, this isn’t to say that We’re All Going to The World’s Fair is without impressive set pieces. Each of the videos and vignettes have a very specific terror and heart to them. Which makes the few that DO have stellar effects shots, like an image-obsessive who is turning into plastic and a young man who pulls arcade tickets from his arm, really stand out. Strung together by the all-too-real feelings of disconnection, loneliness, and the longing for community.
While very meticulous in it’s indie-movie construction, We’re All Going to The World’s Fair is a towering exercise in tension and raw performance. Though I am sure some viewers will be disappointed by it’s lack of jolt and gore, We’re All Going to The World’s Fair seems laser focused on it’s own thing. Infusing that specificity with very recognizable heartache, fear of the self, and alienation that most of us can relate to, on and offline.