In 2018 when Searching came out, I was legitimately annoyed because I was worried there’d be an influx of screen only movies, horror or otherwise, similarly to how when Avatar came out we got bombarded with (mostly) bad 3D conversions and 3D only showings. However, in the five years between. Fast forward five years, and to my knowledge, there have only been a small handful of screen movies, horror or otherwise, which makes Missing, the pseudo sequel to Searching special and quiet frankly a superior film. It is honestly rare that a sequel, especially one that has to be constructed entirely of screens and can’t break that filming method and be better than the original and leave the audience in complete disbelief throughout the entire movie.
What makes Missing work, is the fact that you never know where it’s going. The audience consistently thinks A is going to happen, and writers/directors Nicholas D Johnson and Will Merrick decide not only to swerve the audience by not letting A happen, they invent their own linguistic language and deliver the end of that alphabet instead. If you’re one of those sleuths who thinks they can predict every turn in a movie, you’re not Benoit Blanc; and even he realized how incredible stupid the perpetrator in Glass Onion was, but what Missing does is just continuously shock and awe the audience. I don’t remember the last time I sat in a movie and was so taken aback and left with such shock I let out several audible gasps and was left perplexed. Missing flips the script on Searching and has the daughter looking for her mother, versus the father looking for his daughter, and somehow it makes this adventure that much more mysterious and engaging as well.
Now no matter how well Nicholas D Johnson and Will Merrick crafted a script, if their cast couldn’t deliver on the vision than the movie would’ve been an absolute mess. Thankfully though, Storm Reid who plays June in Missing is exceptional. She is your typical teenager, whose just exhausted with mom’s, Grace whose played by Nia Long, nonsense and constantly is dismissive. She throws the budget rager of dreams, while Grace and new found beau, Kevin played by Ken Leung, are on their vacation in Colombia. When she is supposed to pick up her mom from the airport the following Monday, and they don’t arrive she starts to get worried and does her own investigation into what has happened.
The mystery starts to unfold and as June is trying to find out what happened to her mother, she enlists the help of Javi played by Joaquim de Almeida, whose a Task Rabbit copycat in Columbia, so she can track down her mother and Kevin. As things keep falling apart, she digs deeper and deeper as FBI agent, Agent Park played by Daniel Henney, is trying his best as the liaison in Columbia, he continues to fall short, so she tries to do her best with her best friend by her side, Veena played by Megan Suri, and her mom’s friend Heather played by Amy Landecker. As June slowly starts to unravel the mystery, the further the audience falls into the rabbit hole of this suspenseful thriller that continues to keep you guessing.
While Storm Reid is top notch throughout missing, it is her heart and soul and perseverance that truly shines. She is facing the unimaginable with her mom missing, fearing the absolute worse. Megan Suri also plays the head in the clouds teenager whose trying to be supportive, but manages to fumble the ball a little too often. Joaquim de Almeida, whose the most prominent adult in the movie, plays his heart on his sleeve, wanting to clear his conscious for his own parental missteps, truly bringing an additional level of heart and soul to the movie. However, Nia Long and Ken Leung also are exceptional in their roles and bring a much needed level of intensity and pressure cooker feeling to the film. The entire cast packs a punch for Missing and rounds out the intensity and rapid pace of the events unfolding with their fully fleshed performances whole continuously engaging the audience. Missing truly keeps the audience at the edge of their seat, continuously leaving audiences guessing what is going to happen next with grounded performances to bring together one incredible final product. If you don’t see Missing, you’re truly missing out.