We’re All Going To The World’s Fair

Despite a promising start, and a standout performance from Anna Cobb, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is a mix of ideas that never gel and have no pay-off for the audience. 

Centred around a young teens life, Casey (Anna Cobb) decides to join an online game called We’re All Going to the World’s Fair. This Creepypasta style game involves Anna pricking her finger until it bleeds and reciting the line “I want to go to the World’s Fair.” Up until this point Anna’s life has been fairly generic. She has no friends, is emotionally distant to her father (who we never see by the way), and she spends most of her time in her dimly lit bedroom looking very edgy. Once Anna has given herself over to the World’s Fair challenge, she begins to sense changes in herself and a mysterious man known only as JLB takes a keen interest in her wellbeing.

On one hand, World’s Fair is a cautionary tale about life as a depressed teenager and how your life can be manipulated by people who claim to have your best interests at heart. On the other, it’s a clever condemnation of online culture and how easy it is to pretend to be someone else. Director Jane Schoenbrun is clearly familiar with the aspects of online life, and manages to create a film featuring internet usage that actually feels genuine for once. But the film lacks authority, it is allowed to meander too often, and the change in its narrative from Casey to JLB (Michael J. Rogers) is infuriating. 

Even though it is only 86 minutes in length, it feels punishingly long, and may have been better suited to coming in at around an hour, similar to the excellent Host which was released during lockdown. I do think it’s worth noting that Anna Cobb and Jane Schoenbrun have promising careers ahead of them. It’s just a shame that World’s Fair is more of an interesting experiment than it is an entertaining horror film.

2/5

We’re All Going To The World’s Fair is in UK cinemas from 29 April, and available on Digital Download from 9 May.

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