Monsters & Critics continues its coverage of all the great genre flicks from Fantasia Film Fest with two more offerings from the event. This time we are reviewing the films Bull and We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, two films that are vastly different in narrative but share subtle elements of horror.
While Bull focuses on revenge, family and fatherhood, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair focuses on the dangers of the internet and the realities of youth. Both Bull and We’re All Going to the World’s Fair are worth viewing for fans interested in films that are experimental with horror aspects in two genres.
Here are our capsule reviews of Bull and We’re All Going to the World’s Fair from Fantasia Film Festival 2021.
We’re All Going to the World’s Fair review
We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is a difficult film to discuss without spoiling. But without going into full details, the plot centers on a young girl named Casey (Anna Cobb) who decides to partake in an eerie online game called The World’s Fair Challenge.
In this game, similar to Candyman or Bloody Mary, participants are required to say a phrase three times, “I want to go to the world’s fair,” play a strange strobing video, and then put a smidge of their own blood on the screen. The viral urban legend says things will start to change over time from the moment of participation.
From this description, it would seem like this is a horror film of the Candyman variety, but director Jane Schoenbrun takes us on a haunting slow-burn journey of internet voyeurism. Things do begin to change but in ways that are not expected. This is all conveyed through a series of TikTok-style videos that reveal tidbits of Casey’s world.
Because of this, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair might frustrate some viewers looking for actual scares after the setup. This is clearly not meant to be that kind of horror experiment. But instead, this is a quiet, disturbing meditation on the dangers of some social media platforms.
It might also frustrate some audiences that seek straightforward explanations in their movies. Writers such as myself who enjoy digging deeper would argue the answers are more straightforward than they appear and those revelations will make your skin crawl.
Anyone seeking a disturbing examination of video platforms like YouTube and TikTok should not miss We’re All Going to the World’s Fair.
Bull review at Fantasia Film Festival 2021
Bull centers on a man – named Bull (Neil Maskell) – who is out for pure unadulterated vengeance against those who tried to kill him. As the film begins, we are thrown right into the mayhem as Bull viciously begins killing the people who betrayed him to find his son.
As he wages his ruthless warpath, the script embeds nuggets of backstory about how everything went wrong. It’s explained that Bull married into a ruthless crime family and he is constantly at odds with both his wife and father-in-law.
As this plays out, the reveals truly make Bull feel like a sympathetic character who was the best person for his son. This makes the vengeance he administers all the more satisfying, regardless of the brutality.
The surprising detail about Bull is that it has the feel of a horror film. If this were a Halloween movie, all of the characters who betrayed Bull would be the teenage victims, and Bull would be Michael Myers stalking his prey.
When he kills someone the execution is terrifying. This is exactly what a Punisher movie should be in tone and delivery--cold-blooded, scary, and satisfying on the punishment. Bull checks all of these marks with ease.
Neil Maskell (Kill List, Small Axe) is quite good here in the role of Bull. He has the range to swing from vicious to passing as a loving father in an instant.
He is quite the unconventional leading man yet feels absolutely intimidating in his performance. It’s very reminiscent of Brawl in Cell Block 99, where Vince Vaughn is convincingly formidable. This is a grounded reminder that not all dangerous men look like The Rock or Jason Statham.
Maskell also has moments of manic acting that could compete with the best of Nicolas Cage. One scene involving a carnival ride has shades of Mandy in delivery. Needless to say, Maskell earns any recognition that he accrues from Bull.
While the story itself may not be entirely original, it does have a few surprises up its sleeve that make it better than most mediocre vengeance films. Plus, for a film that was made during the coronavirus pandemic, it fully satisfies what a revenge movie is expected to be.
Bull made its premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival and is worth pursuing when it’s officially released by Signature Entertainment sometime later this year.
To read more of our coverage from Fantasia Film Festival 2021, check out our reviews of Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break, our capsule reviews of Alien on Stage and Sweetie You Won’t Believe It, and our capsule reviews of Brain Freeze and Seobok.
Stay tuned for more coverage of Fantasia Film Festival 2021 at Monsters & Critics.