We’re All Going to the World’s Fair. 2021. USA. Written and directed by Jane Schoenbrun. With Anna Cobb, Michael J. Rogers. DCP. 86 min.
A remarkable, rare combination of frightening and tender, Jane Schoenbrun’s accomplished narrative debut is a hypnotic, destabilizing tale of the fragility of online existence and the human capacity for change. Anna Cobb embodies heartrending teenage fragility as Casey, an isolated high schooler who has decided to take the “World’s Fair Challenge,” a role-playing horror game with the alleged power to enact real-world body modifications and emotional effects. Initially using a static webcam aesthetic familiar to fans of recent first-person Internet horror, Schoenbrun ultimately creates something unique, a film about deprivation and connection, dysphoria and desire, that allows its characters self-awareness and grace even as they descend deeper into dark interior spaces.