Clever use of technology makes this computer screen thriller mostly engaging.
January 2023 continues its hot streak of providing a new, must-see weekend release with Missing, the standalone sequel to the 2018 box office hit Searching. Using only computer screens and cameras from various devices like phones, doorbell cameras, and actual video cameras, Missing’s use of updated technology coupled with strong performances and some nice twists keeps its viewers mostly engaged as if they’re glued to their phones (which a majority of people are).
While Searching covered a parent looking for her teenage kid, Missing flips the script by having the teenage kid looking for their parent. Teenager June (Storm Reid) and her mother Grace (Nia Long) are living in Los Angeles and have been for years after June’s father passed away. Going through all the drama a teenager might have with a parent when they are in that age range, Grace decides to take a trip to Colombia with her new boyfriend. Later on when Grace was supposed to have returned from her trip, June cannot find her. While trying to piece together what happened, with the help of an investigator and a nice gentleman in Colombia, June discovers new mysteries that change everything, not just in this particular case, but in the life she has been living.
While not to compare Missing too much to its predecessor, it is notable that this film runs almost two hours compared with its predecessor that ran just over 90 minutes. Here, you can certainly feel a shorter run time and a tighter story would have benefited the film, which has more twists and turns than one might expect. Some of these twists and turns are actually shocking and will entice viewers to try and figure things out in their head as the film progresses. Others, though, are not as clever and hinder a story and demonstrates that the film was in need of some polishing.
All that being said, the run time and not-so-clever twists are the only knocks against Missing, which otherwise fires on all other cylinders. Going from different screens, searches, phone calls, and other uses of digital cameras, there is hardly a dull moment. What’s most impressive is how some twists aren’t even as clear on screen or in full high definition, but still draw feedback from the viewers who are in shock and awe when what has just been revealed dawns on them. Kudos to directors Nick Johnson and Will Merrick on delivering these moments, which are as clever as some of the twists.
Missing also keeps its viewers engaged, thanks to a couple of strong performances, beginning with Storm Reid, a young actress whose future is as bright as anyone else’s in Hollywood right now. Her performance as June is authentic and shows she can take the reins in a more adult-leaning film, and I’m curious to see where she goes from here. To go along with Storm’s lead performance is a surprisingly great (and funny) performance from Michael Segovia as Angel, a Colombia citizen who tries to help June throughout the film.
While Missing may not deliver much more than what its predecessor laid the groundwork for, its flip on the actually missing subject makes for a solid thriller that will have viewers buzzing throughout the film.