Screenlife was the natural evolution of the found footage trend that saw a huge resurgence in the 2010s. The 'Paranormal Activity' franchise really took off thanks to low production costs but extremely high return that every studio in Hollywood jumped onto. This reached a head when 'Unfriended' and its sequel jumped into the 21st century of found footage, taking place entirely on a laptop screen also known as screenlife. The standout of this trend was the 2018 thriller 'Searching'. which was a more grounded and straightforward missing person's story and made perfect use of its creative setting. Now its spiritual sequel 'Missing' is heading to cinemas, but it lives up the 2018 film's critical success.
June (Storm Reid, 'The Invisible Man', 'A Wrinkle in Time') is 18 and when her mother, Grace (Nia Long, TV's 'NCIS: Lost Angeles', 'You People') and new boyfriend, Kevin (Ken Leung, 'Stars Wars: The Force Awakens', 'Old'), go away to Columbia, she plans to party all weekend. She and her mother have had a tough relationship since her dad (Tim Griffin, 'Central Intelligence', 'American Sniper') passed when she was young and they have been distance between them ever since. When June goes to pick them up from the airport a few days later, her mum and Kevin are nowhere to be seen. This immediately causes June to panic and when the FBI isn't helpful, she takes the case into her hands and uncovers secrets of Kevin, her dad and the real truth about her mother.
The gimmick feels thinner here, and the need to constantly have her Facetime camera on so we can see June reacting to things felt very unnatural.
'Missing' serves as a compelling mystery, but when compared to 'Searching' it never reaches the same heights. The gimmick feels thinner here, and the need to constantly have her Facetime camera on so we can see June reacting to things felt very unnatural. While I understand the purpose, it felt less creative than in its predecessor.
Once again, Storm Reid is knocking it out of the park and proves her acting talents once again. It did lose me at times with the constant twists being thrown out, and the need to be constantly going back and forth felt like one too many. But as a whole package, if you are looking for a decent thriller to sink your teeth into, 'Missing' is an enjoyable ride.
'Missing' is an entertaining and, at times, thrilling mystery and worthy follow-up to the 2018 surprise hit - but it never soars, partly due to its attachment to 'Searching', stumbling with its focus on twists over thrills. It's been a while since a decent thriller or mystery has hit cinemas and with the peaked interest in the genre due to Netflix true crime documentaries, 'Missing' is sure to fill the theatrical void of this current trend.