Alone in her room and staring directly into the screen, teenager Casey pricks her finger to draw blood and declares herself ready to undertake the ‘World’s Fair challenge’. From this point, director Jane Schoenbrun charts Casey’s online odyssey as she participates in what’s billed as ‘the internet’s scariest horror game’, a fully immersive experience that offers spooky cheap thrills along with the possibility of meaningful interaction, transformation and liberation.
Sensitively attuned to the feelings of power and vulnerability that come from being alone in a virtual environment that has neither tangible limits nor an objective reality, Schoenbrun’s film is an unconventional, disquieting and endlessly provocative attempt to capture a very modern phenomenon on-screen. Young lead Anna Cobb is a remarkable discovery as Casey, making her screen debut in a demanding role which has no direct precedent in cinema.
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