We’re All Going to the World’s Fair will have a limited theatrical release on April 15, before its nationwide expansion and digital release on April 22.
Set in the world of creepypasta lore and online “challenges,” We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is a slow-burn horror drama that feels, at once, like a combination of elements from several recent movies, and yet a wholly original creation. It follows a young teenage girl, Casey (Anna Cobb), who gets sucked into an online role-playing game, replete with its own winding mythology, in the pursuit of some unspoken transformation. However, despite a premise that feels supernatural at the outset, the story is much more about loneliness and disconnect in the internet age. More introspective than explosive, it’s also one of the moodiest and most atmospheric coming-of-age films to emerge from the recent American independent scene.
Cobb, in her feature debut, navigates a difficult role with stunning precision. For much of the film, Casey is the only face on screen, beginning with an opening scene from her webcam’s point of view. Her teary-eyed trepidation, in the middle of her darkened attic bedroom, anchors us emotionally as she repeats the phrase “I want to go to the world’s fair” — a modern “Bloody Mary” urban legend of sorts, with minor self-mutilation thrown in for good measure (it’s only a pin prick, but it’s spine-chilling all the same). The next and final step in the “World’s Fair Challenge” is watching a hypnotic, strobing video clip, and while it’s one we don’t actually see, the camera remains transfixed on Casey, as Cobb walks a tightrope between hesitance and excitement. It’s hard not to feel like a participant in the ritual.