Horrortoberfest ’22 Day 9 – We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021)

Taking a break from the major franchise film reviews for a couple days and came across this movie randomly. I knew nothing about it going in but saw that it had gotten some decently high critical praise and figured I would give it a chance. What I got was far from what I was expecting, based on the opening scene of the movie. This is much less a horror film and much more a story about a sad teenager trying to connect with people and making videos as a sort of cry for help.

We begin the movie with Casey, a teen girl that is making a video of her doing the “World’s Fair Challenge”, a viral challenge that is basically an initiation into playing a video based horror RPG. The idea is that you do it and then you start to change and make videos about how you’re changing. Most are like “I did the challenge and now I’m a craaaazy clown” but Casey is far more subdued and starts talking about how the way she feels now is like when she used to sleepwalk. She gets contacted by another World’s Fair player, JLB, and we follow Casey’s “transformation” through the lens of her videos and his attempts to contact her.

The film is shot in a combination of standard and found footage. Often times we get the camera filming the characters filming themselves but other times we get the actual video of what the characters are shooting. It’s kind of weird choice but then this entire movie is kind of a weird choice all around. At first you think you’re going to get a found footage style movie about someone’s possession or transformation into a monster but then it’s mostly just a boring vlog of a sad teen with depression. We get a few scenes of her being a little creepy or freaking out but, mostly, it’s Casey wandering around town talking about how she could disappear and nobody would notice or how she wants to kill her dad or herself. It’s less scary and more concerning than anything.

That concern is shared by the character JLB, who is a middle aged man trying to connect with this teenager girl. The dynamic is sort of nebulous if this guy is a weird perv or if he is just actually concerned over this person’s wellbeing. I wish I liked this as much as some of the reviews online but it feels very monotone to me. The characters all speak in a very sedate and calm voice and you can tell why Casey’s videos show as only having 20 views as she looks directly at the camera and seems completely uninterested in being there. Which isn’t to say the actress. Anna Cobb, did a bad job. It just feels like the direction for the film was “Try to show as little emotion as possible” which makes for bland scenes.

I would have liked to have seen something more out of this film. Either leaning harder into the horror aspects or delving further into Casey’s life outside of it would have made it more compelling. As it stands, I spent most of the movie waiting for something interesting to happen and it never did.

Score: 2 out of 5

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