We’re all going to the World’s Fair – creepypasta for adults

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June 2009 Aspiring director Troy Wagner, 20, has uploaded a surprisingly creepy 47-second clip to YouTube. The beginning of a web series based on a story he read on the Something Awful online forum, the clip is presented as raw footage that the young man recorded before abruptly cutting off all contact with his friends. A menacing figure lurks in the background, stalking its edges. The story unfolds in over a hundred short, choppy, extremely bizarre videos, The Blair Witch Project for young millennials. It became a viral sensation, reaching over one hundred million views and becoming the crown jewel of the booming Internet horror genre known as creepypasta. A ghostly figure named “Slenderman” ended up appearing in a plethora of creepypasta stories and even inspired a feature film spin-off released in 2015. But by then, she had gone from being an urban legend to something completely different. The year before, two young Wisconsin girls had become convinced that Slenderman wanted them to make a blood sacrifice. They lured their friend into the forest and stabbed her to death. Real horror drained the fun of the role-playing game that has sprung up around the internet legend.

It’s hard to watch a new movie We’re all going to the World’s Fair, right now, without thinking about the Wagner video and the Slenderman stabbing. The debut feature film directed by Jane Schönbrun tells the story of a wayward young girl obsessed with internet horror. The main character, Casey (Anna Cobb, mesmerizing in her acting debut), is a loner teenager who begins recording videos of her participating in an online role-playing game called We’re all going to the World’s Fair. The exact parameters of the game remain unclear, but we learn that players must begin by saying its name and spilling blood, releasing some kind of supernatural power that gradually overtakes them. Casey is immersed in this, and her videos imply that she, too, is losing control of herself as she becomes more immersed in the world of the World’s Fair.

Like Wagner’s web series, the videos Casey uploads have an unsettling feel of found footage. Watching this, you seem to plunge into a particularly creepy nightmare in which nothing much really happens, but, nevertheless, you wake up in a cold sweat. Casey spends most of his time in his attic bedroom, lit up with glow-in-the-dark space stickers and really messy; if she is not there, she watches a projector elsewhere in her absent father’s territory or wanders around her abandoned city. She doesn’t seem to have any friends, except for an older man (Michael Rogers) with a creepy illustration as his avatar, known only as “JBL”. He watches all of Casey’s videos from the World’s Fair and even instructs her to record herself in her sleep and send him the footage. (Not exactly hopeful BFF material.) With JBL seemingly her only confidante, Casey dives deeper and deeper into the game where she may not have a traditional community, but at least she has an audience.

Despite all this tension and drama, We’re all going to the World’s Fair This is not a fast paced thriller. Instead, it has the rhythm of one of those video installations you can wander into in an art museum, moody, meditative and collage. There’s something frightening here too – one scene where a man guides Casey through a video of her sleeping can haunt my sleep, and there’s a brief moment of full-blown body horror – but Schönbrun isn’t about to jump. scares or bloody antics. We’re all going to the World’s Fair falls into that slightly cursed category of films that are much scarier (and more interesting) to think about than to watch. Even though the movie looks a bit dull while watching, the movie’s ominous imagery is still hard to change even after a few days.

Schönbrun’s great trick is to get the public excited about Casey. The opening, where Casey looks directly into the camera and summons spirits to bring the game to life, is less like other horror films than the beginning of Bo Burnham’s gentle coming-of-age story. Eighth gradewhich follows another lonely and pubescent child as she clumsily tries her hand at blogging. But for now Eighth gradeThe hapless protagonist Kayla is completely sincere, something more slippery is going on with Casey. Eventually JBL is so worried about her that they essentially call a timeout on their game to make sure she’s okay, and her response is arguably the movie’s most frightening moment. It doesn’t have to be some kind of supernatural element in the game for puberty to turn into a real horror.

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