Sundance 2021: “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair”

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The digital world is meant to educate people by giving instant access to loads of information. However, some people, even the younger generation, look for something else to entertain themselves. For instance, watching strange videos, reading creepy stuff, and pretty much do nothing else. Is that all that we are capable of, one may ask? Nevertheless, all that won’t matter after seeing Jane Schoenburn’s “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair.”

Casey (a standout performance by Anna Cobb) is a truly lonely teenager. Her entire life is on her computer. If she goes outside, she won’t know what to do. Consumed by online games, she accepts the World Fair Challenge, hoping to make horror part of her life. What she did not know is that soon that horror will be her companion for the rest of her journey, whatever that’s going to be. And by the time when she will want to change something, it will be too late.

We don’t know whether Casey has a family or not; whether she studies or works, eats food or uses the washroom. Almost like a humanoid, she can go on with her day without doing things humans normally do – eating, drinking, watching movies or even listening to proper music. All that she cares about is a horror game or dreaming standing in front of a big car that might kill her. And she knows that – she knows the car may hit her or kill her, but she just wants to stand and see what happens next. Yes, the game she plays is creepy, but she’s also out of touch with the world, even the ones who created the game will be scared of her, so will you, just be prepared for it.

That said, “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair” is one of those films that you mistakenly think is boring or not entertaining. Indeed, it’s a slow-burning horror that rather offers a character study of how much one person can go in filming herself in a creepy way, to experience paranormal activity. Someone who wants to invite horror into her life, like it’s not already scary enough. The film is smart, provocative and engaging. It also provides food for thought for those who prefer the gaming world to the real one. We can be consumed by something we can’t be part of in real life, but there is always a limit to what we do and how we can do. And once we cross that, there is no way back to normalcy. Yes, Casey thinks she controls everything. She will learn it the hard way that she does not. But will we feel bad for her? We should, of course. But the film or the storyline does not suggest that.

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