We’re All Going to the World’s Fair Ending, Explained

If you are thinking of going to the world’s fair, be warned. Written and directed by Jane Schoenbrun in her feature debut, the psychological horror drama ‘We’re All Going to the World’s Fair’ is a captivating cinematic experience. The movie combines the mundane horror of the physical world and the unspeakable horror of the virtual to explore an all-encompassing alienation in the late capitalist society.

The approach, in turn, is psychic, communicative, and invoking to your inner child. The outcome is cathartic, as it brings you out of the loop. With a shoestring budget, Casey’s story is at once intense and liberating. If you are scratching your forehead as the credits roll down the screen, let us be of help. SPOILERS AHEAD.

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair Plot Synopsis

In the beginning, Casey records a video of herself enrolling for the World’s Fair Challenge. She welcomes the audience to her channel and then shows her raccoon doll, Poh. After cutting her fingertip with a badge, she utters “I am going to the World’s Fair” thrice. Seemingly, the game begins. In the afternoon, Casey takes a walk in the neighborhood. At night, Casey explores videos of people who have participated in the World’s Fair Challenge.

Some think they are turning into something they are not, while others cannot feel their bodies even as they slap themselves while running on a treadmill. Some claimed to have become plastic in a graphically exaggerated video. Casey’s second video is about nothing — just her lazing in a hammock out in the woods. After speaking about a dream where she walks to the middle of the street just to get hit by a car, she lets the viewers know that her body has turned numb. Her numbness may be due to the snowy November weather, but she ascertains that she does not feel anything.

Then, as if in a dream sequence, she walks out to the barn and falls asleep on the couch while a projector starts to play. A woman lulls Casey to sleep (possibly her mother), and Casey receives a message from JLB. As JLB attempts to entice Casey to play the game by claiming to be running an in-game challenge, Casey plays along, with her videos getting terrifying. JLB seems a bit too concerned about Casey, as they communicate through videos. One night, Casey cuts off all communication after calling him out. A year later, JLB says that he has met Casey in a video.

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair Ending: Why Does Casey Cut Contact With JLB? Is JLB A Pedophile?

Through the story, Casey’s videos become progressively sad and sometimes cathartic. In a video, Casey records herself while sleeping. JLB points out to the audience that Casey wakes up at around 4.55 AM, reaching her hand under the bed. She wakes up with a sinister smile on her face. This sequence should not be that scary unless you are a creepypasta geek. However, as you are looking at such a creepypasta video, you would ask yourself whether it’s real or just a performance. And there is no way to tell.

Although it’s most likely a performance, you are drawn to the video since you want to get scared. And in an increasingly alienated world, you want to project the real, although the reality may have been distorted into a glitchy blur. Such is the case of JLB. Confined in his own home with nothing good to do, he lends a hand in the mythmaking of the World’s Fair. In the beginning, he suggests to Casey that his channel is an in-game channel, which seems like a ploy to earn Casey’s trust. Casey puts up some more videos: in one, she is dancing and singing (with a sudden scream in the middle), and in another, the camera looks at Christmas decorations.

Another shows a manifestation of Casey’s suicidal dream, but it ends in her walking into a crowd celebrating New Year’s Eve. All the videos conceal a disjuncture with the physical world, as Casey has premonitions of disappearing. However, Casey looks through the fabric of the myth woven around the game. In the end, then, she rejects it in favor of the mundanity of her everyday existence. JLB, in the meantime, becomes obsessed with Casey. Especially after watching the video of Casey tearing apart her childhood doll Poh, JLB sends an “urgent” message to Casey asking about her whereabouts.

In the Skype call, JLB tells Casey how he would report her profile for the videos. He was even going to call the police, but he did not know where she lived. At this point, it looks as if JLB is trying to get a hold of Casey’s address, but he does not know how to go about it. His concern sounds entirely fake, and the whole game seems make-belief. Casey comes back to the reality of her familial oppression, which extends in her mind to gendered oppression. She dismisses her own videos as “acting,” calls JLB a pedophile, and takes her exit from the loop.

It seems that JLB has nothing better to do than entice girls like Casey into thinking they exist in a game. He does not give straightforward answers to Casey’s questions and only mystifies the game further. He lives alone in the house, and even the place holds only a fragment of his existence. Most of his presence consumes the fringes of the internet. Although the lack in his mind is acute, it would be uneasy for some to call him a pedophile. It can just be that he is concerned that Casey will take her own life.

However, after looking at all the red flags, the lack in his repressed masculine life may take the grotesque form of pedophilia. Although some can argue that he does not have any ill intentions, his obsession with a fellow YouTuber feels unnatural. So does Casey’s screaming in the middle of dancing and singing, which makes us ask a more fundamental question — are we losing ourselves in the performance?

What Happens To Casey? Is She Dead or Alive?

With a romantic score and bright sunlight, the story’s epilogue takes us to JLB’s house. He speaks of establishing contact with Casey, who spent some time in an assisted care facility following the night. JLB also seemingly went through trauma after realizing how fragile his attempts to give meaning to a virtual facade were. After coming out of the institution, Casey applies for a theater program in New York. She has come out of the fringes into the light, and now she seeks to channel her impeccable theatrical skills in a more constructive space.

JLB speaks of meeting Casey in person, which is something he was excited about. However, as memory overwhelmed the present, they could not talk much. The reality was that JLB was a lonely guy lurking in the corners of the internet and not some mythical purveyor of a mind-bending game. However, the final words of JLB, “That night, I made it there,” seem cryptic and creepy. Did he molest or kill Casey? The former may be the case, as JLB stresses, “Something brought me back.”

Then, the account moves on to them having pizza and calling it a night, but the words of JLB haunt us as we take our leave. Although Casey lives at the end of the story, the incident possibly leaves a scar behind. Our minds make us think Casey may be dead, especially when we are primed after watching too many movies where people die. However, violence may not always lead to death — it may take root in your will to let go of yourself. Violence may thus be relatively mundane, as Casey tearing apart her childhood doll or JLB making it “there.”

Read More: Where Was We’re All Going to the World’s Fair Filmed?