January is the month of the small movie, and here we have another in Missing, the sorta-kinda sequel to 2018’s Searching with John Cho. This movie doesn’t have anyone you’ve heard of (though you may have seen Megan Suri around). So, does that spell doom for this found footage thriller? Not really…
I like found footage as a concept. Since The Blair Witch Project hit the scene decades ago, found footage been used mostly in the horror genre, but it’s refreshing when it crops up elsewhere. In particular, Missing relies on video and texts from all sorts of devices to tell its story, and in doing so, it creates a little mystery that we’re all trying to solve together. Like Searching before it, Missing does a good job of making you feel like you might just see the clues, even though the editing is intentionally misleading at times so that it’s doubtful that you will. But you might pick up a thing here or there that comes to light a few minutes later, and that feels good.
There are twists and turns as the lead character, June, searches for her mother who’s gone missing on a trip with her new boyfriend down to Colombia. A boyfriend who we have a lot to learn about, which is a big part of the movie that I won’t spoil here. The entire weight of the movie really rests on shoulders of Storm Reid, and she does a good enough job that you’ll feel invested in the journey.
The real hero of this movie, though, perhaps more than most others, is the editing. It splices together all of these things in a way that you can follow the plot by giving you text and maps and videos, mostly from apps you’re familiar with, but occasionally with some made-up-for-the-movie ones. These fictional apps splice well with the real world, though, and the technology is believable enough that it never threw me out of the movie. Everything I saw felt like it came from TikTok, or Instagram, or YouTube, and that is an impressive feat in and of itself.
I enjoyed this movie. It won’t blow anyone away. But it’s grounded and small and well-told. If you’re a true crime fan, this is going to feel like watching Forensic Files in real time. It’s a thumbs up from me if you’re into that kind of thing.
Should you watch it? If you like True Crime and thrillers and/or liked Searching, yep.
Should you take your kids? Teens may enjoy it, but anyone younger will likely have trouble keeping up with the reading-heavy plot.
What you should watch first: This is ostensibly in the same universe as Searching, but that movie is only obliquely referenced, so you can watch this without any pre-gaming.