Fantasia 2021 Capsule Review: We’re All Going to the World’s Fair

Non-binary writer and director Jane Schoenbrun brings their latest film to Fantasia International Film Festival. We’re All Going to the World’s Fair tells the story of Casey, a teenager who decides to try the viral “World’s Fair Challenge”, a horror roleplaying game. She records everything for her YouTube channel, documenting any supposed changes she might experience as a result of the game. The deeper Casey goes into this game, the more difficult it is to determine what is real and what is fantasy. We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is definitely a slow, methodical film, but it is also quite unsettling.

The film is shown in a combination of traditional narrative film shots and recordings from the computer, allowing the audience to see how Casey presents herself online compared to what is happening behind the scenes. What makes We’re All Going to the World’s Fair so effective is how it blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, mental illness and horror. As Casey records her “changes,” it’s never quite clear if those changes are actually happening or if she’s pretending for the sake of gaining internet popularity. It feels incredibly relevant in today’s society where internet stardom is the goal of many kids. Anna Cobb makes her feature-film debut as Casey and she is wonderful at conveying the person Casey wishes she was compared to the scenes when her inner sadness comes through. This film moves at a leisurely pace and will leave the audience with many unanswered questions, but it’s still compelling and dark in an all-to-real way.

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair takes a disturbing look into the real and imagined dangers in the quest for internet stardom.

OVERALL RATING: 7/10

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