Director: Jane Schoenbrun
Starring: Anna Cobb; Michael J Rogers .USA. 1h 26m
In reasponse to a slew of online challenges, either real or unreal, our children have been exposed to the horrors of Slenderman and Momo, and challenged to chuck ice water over themselves to spread awareness or apparently the comitt suicide in the blue whale challnge or wishing for death in Randomnautica, and this is only the tip of the iceberg of this cyber phenomenan. We’ve already seen what an entity from the web can do to a young woman in Daniel Goldhaber’s Cam (2017), but this is something of a step in the “weird” direction..
Jane Schoenbrun has created this slow burning, narratively challenged movie which is more visually haunting than it is visually shocking than you’d expect for its creepy nature. But no matter what you take away from the project, there are many moments which will creep under the skin.
The movie stars Anna Cobb as Casey, a young girl who,one fateful night decides to take part in the latest online game, after a fairly occultish ritual or chanting ” we’re all going to the worlds fair” pricking her finger and smearing the blood on the monitor, nothing much happens. She just spends hours of her time watching YouTube videos, including ASMR vids and other people who have carried out the challenge, wasting away, experiencing high “strangeness” in their lives but every so slowly Casey begins to notice things about herself but is it anything to worry about? The most shocking video she finds after her entry into the game is a warped video of herself, with the titles like “YOU ARE IN TROUBLE” and “I NEED TO TALK TO YOU.the creator of the video has been following the girls online vlog of her changed life and believes she’s going to be absorbed into the game and wishes to help..
I swear, someday soon, I am just gonna disappear, and you won’t have any idea what happened to me.
This watcher is JLB and played by Michael J Rogers an actor who seems to always find himself playing difficult psychologically intense characters, and this one is a prefect cross between Barry Nyle from Beyond the Black Rainbow (2013) and Michael from Demonic (2021), two other cracking films that might just be a great addition to this if you were looking for a movie night. JOBs added weirdness in Casey’s life is highlighted by one super scene where we get to see his desktop and following entries into the World’s Fair game is a full time job for him, but what are his motives, is he a savior or predator?
It would be natural for any spooky movie like this to attempt to fuck around with it’s audiences preception a lot, but Schoenbrun stands off a little, the movie is incredibly unnerving but most of it will come from audience anticipation more than full on in your face effects of shocks, but when things fo awry it hits you off guard or is so subtle you’ll have to watch twice. There’s a partucally creepy scene where Casey records herself sleeping and the results are damned right “fuck no”.
This deep dive into a macabre digital rabbit hole is in itself something that looks and feels like a piece of lost media itself, and Cobbs debut performance is indeed remarkable.It al feels that much more terrible that the movie isn’t bigger and bolder with a direct approach to the pitfalls of kids being left along to be preyed on by ibkube ogebinbua kujs guam real or not the psycolocal effects are still too real to ignore. Depending on how you read the film and it’s ending which hangs open, you’ll either be blown away or mystified by the film but (hopefully) not disappointed, especially as its underlying narrative is that of eternally lonely people attempting to connect from the darkest parts of their own psyche.. you did catch that part right?
Related: Skinamarink (2022), Slenderman (2018) Pyewacket (2017) Cam (2018)
Lists: Creepypasta Flicks, Straight From the internet
Spotlight: Michael J Rogers