We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2022)

Viral challenges and horror became entwined a long time ago. Most of these challenges are intended for children and have instructions full of arcane steps that have to be taken in order to touch the world of the supernatural. Pretty much all of them sound like bad ideas. For example, the Elevator Game aka The Elevator to Another World became a bit of a thing on the Internet. Operating an elevator up and down in a certain sequence is said to unmoor the passenger from reality. It brings players into possible contact with extradimensional beings in an alternate dimension. There are plenty of hoaxes/fun games like this floating all over the online experience. More recently were things like the so-called Momo Challenge (a hoax) and the Charlie Charlie game (a divination method). All of this existed before the Internet. Just look at Light as a Feather, the Ouija Board, and so on. People are good at scaring themselves.

Isolation can be really tough. Personally, I spent a lot of time after I graduated from college alone when I moved to rural New Jersey. That was actually close to the time when I started this blog partially as a way to reach out to the world. I worked in a small town and, outside of work, I had exactly one friend who I hung out with who was also a loner. I spent a lot of time connected to the Internet and I made friends there, few of which I ever met in person. In fact, a lot of them were people I talked to only via text. When I did some online gaming, I did end up getting on voice chat but it was IRC for a long time. That connection helps but it relies on other people taking time out of their busy lives to talk to you. In-person meet-ups are a little anxiety-inducing but are healthy and make me feel less lonely. A person in that isolated state can definitely start to lose it.

The first thing I noticed was how natural things seemed with the movie unconcerned with opening like a normal movie. The acting is immediately striking. The cast is super tiny which blew my mind since I did not know that going in. Anna Cobb plays the lead and she is instantly mesmerizing and almost tragic. This is Anna Cobb’s first feature-length film (she is 19 years old but feels a lot younger) and she really knocked it out of the park. There are several real and fake YouTube videos throughout the movie which do a great job of illustrating what being online a lot is like. It also made me see that ASMR videos can be really creepy in the wrong context.  There are also a few voices from off-camera like the girl’s emotionally distant father. The only other real character is another streamer played by Michael J. Rogers whose dialogue is clumsy and awkward. The two have a sort of charming anti-chemistry together. 

I guess you would qualify parts of this movie as found footage as we see through the webcam at a streamer both as they are online and in the moments before and after. Like Host, this shot is absolutely claustrophobic and I was fully confronted by the actress in my face. The camera intentionally frames the screens that the main character watches as far away, really accentuating that feeling of isolation. When we are brought outside of her room she is still alone. Sometimes the spaces are bright but a lot of them are dark and cave-like. There are very few special effects in this movie. There are a lot of crazy practical effects and a lot just done with acting. It is rare to see a horror movie go all in on such a bleak psychological horror concept. It makes it hard to look away.

Overall, I  really liked this movie. It does a lot with isolation and anticipation. You are never really given an explanation of what is and is not happening. There are so many scenes where you are waiting for something to happen. That anticipation is more where the fear is than anything that happens but do not get me wrong there are plenty of creepy happenings in this movie. This is also Director Jane Schoenbrun’s first feature-length movie and I would love to see more from them. I recommend this movie.


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