Sundance darling We're All Going to the World's Fair, a chilling horror film that plays on the prevalence of creepypastas and dangerous internet challenges for young, coming-of-age users, just received a debut trailer ahead of its nationwide release via IndieWire. It premiered at the famous film festival back in January of 2021 to high praise from critics for its depiction of internet culture and how it can warp the minds and identities of the people who use it in their developing years.
The feature debut of filmmaker Jane Schoenbrun, the film releases in theaters nationwide via Utopia and digitally on HBO Max on April 22. We're All Going to the World's Fair stars Anna Cobb as Casey, a teenager whose hours spent online from her attic bedroom eventually lead her down the dark rabbit hole of creepypastas and meme challenges, a la Bloody Mary or Charlie Charlie. She finds the titular World's Fair challenge, one that sees players repeat the phrase "I want to go to the World's Fair" three times before drawing blood from their fingers, and decides to record herself taking part. In the days following her initiation, she uploads viral videos updating viewers on what is, or isn't, happening to her, all the while losing grips on what's real and what's fantasy.
The trailer has a surreal feel to it, showing Casey's descent into supernatural horror or madness induced by her participation in the game. We see her fully submerse herself in the world of this online game, watching videos of other content creators documenting their symptoms, fearing the same fate may befall her. Between the haunting score from Alex G, the testimony of other players, the dark voices speaking to the game's dangers, and the visuals of Casey slowly losing herself, it's enough to keep viewers guessing whether all of it is in her head, or if there are more sinister forces behind the World's Fair challenge.
We're All Going to the World's Fair includes a small cast with Cobb alongside Michael J. Rogers, Holly Anne Frink, and various online content creators. The film is written and directed by Schoenbrun with Daniel Patrick Carbone, Hannah Dweck, Matthew Petock, Theodore Schaeffer, and Zachary Shedd executive producing. Carbone also did the cinematography for the film, while Abbi Harri served as both the co-producer and casting director. Carlos Zozaya and Sarah Winshall produced.
In an interview last year, Schoenbrun detailed their process behind the film, explaining how they took not just from online internet culture and creepypastas, but also their own experience as a non-binary person finding their identity to build the world of World's Fair. "I wanted to make a movie about growing up within the liminal space of the internet, and I wanted to explore questions about identity, power, and authorship through the lens of the creepypasta genre," they said regarding why they were interested in telling this story.
We're All Going to the World's Fair will debut at BAM in New York on April 15 before making the jump to theaters worldwide and HBO Max for streaming on April 22. Check out the haunting, mind-bending trailer below:
Plus, just what is up with that creepy "Tooth Child."
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