A twisty thriller that shows that ScreenLife films still have legs to them


After her mother goes missing, a young woman tries to find her from home, using tools available to her online.

A teenager tries to locate her mother after she vanishes on vacation in . June () is an 18-year-old left on her own after her mother, Grace (), goes on a vacation to Columbia with her new boyfriend, Kevin (). However, Grace doesn't show up at the airport on the day she is set to return, and June begins to fear the worse. June begins tracing her mother's movements using Kevin's social media accounts and learns Grace may have been hiding a secret.

Missing Synopsis

Missing is a thriller from writer/directors Nick Johnson and Will Merrick and executive producer Timur Bekmambetov. The film can be described as a spiritual sequel to 2018's Searching, produced using the same ScreenLife method as that film and others such as Unfriended and Profile. The film stars Storm Reid (A Wrinkle in Time, Euphoria) as 18-year-old June, trying to find out what happened to her mother, Grace and what secrets she has been hiding.

My Thoughts on Missing

It has been nearly a decade since Timur Bekmambetov helped to popularize the ScreenLife genre of filmmaking. He even developed special software to help capture and manipulate scenes created on a computer screen. This peaked around 2018 when Bekmambetov produced three ScreenLife features with Unfriended: Dark Web, Profile, and Searching. It is the latter film that Missing is a spiritual sequel to, for all intents and purposes, even though they both have different plots and characters.

Missing is a twisty thriller that shows that ScreenLife films still have legs to them. The film even comes up with ways to leave the confines of a computer screen, whether it be the use of an Apple Watch or security cameras. While this does distort the definition of ScreenLife somewhat, it does help prevent the film from becoming monotonous.

Despite taking place predominantly on a computer screen, Missing features a sizable cast. Apart from Storm Ried as June, the cast includes Nia Long (The Best Man Holiday) as June's mother, Grace, Ken Leung (LOST, Old) as Grace's boyfriend Kevin, as Grace's lawyer and friend Heather, and as June's best friend, Veena. June also receives help from FBI Agent Park () and Colombian ride-share driver Javier () in the search for her mother.

Missing also manages to include some commentary about online commentary and armchair sleuthing. When the authorities discover that June's mother, Grace, is possibly hiding something about her past, it results in several true crime podcasts coming up with ridiculous theories about what truly happened to her. This leads toward the film's final reveal, which is surprising but makes a lot of sense.

Ultimately, if you enjoyed Searching when it came out five years ago, Missing will likely end up providing a similar level of enjoyment.

Trailer for Missing

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.