Saturday, September 3, 2011

Film Review: Megan is Missing (2011)


Megan is Missing is a truly harrowing cinematic experience. There is nothing pretty about this film and you will not walk away from this film unaffected. That is...unless you happen to be a criminally insane psychopathic serial killer/rapist.

This is one of those films that will stay with you long after you've watched it. We checked it out right after the series premiere of MTV's Death Valley...to sort of keep the horror vibe going. Big mistake. Megan is Missing quickly killed the fun vibe that Death Valley  established and shifted things into a bleak world of lost hope and desolate horror. The kind of horror that forces you to take a good look at the kind of world we live in. You see...there's no vampires or werewolves or zombies in this film. That would've been comforting. Instead, the film is a snapshot of what kind of depravity exists in the real world. While those monsters that I mentioned earlier don't exist...the one depicted in Megan is Missing does. Just watch 20/20 or pick up a newspaper and see how many young girls go missing every day. The numbers are pretty staggering.

Anyway...Megan is Missing is based on true events. The story follows two BFF teenage girls (one a dirty coke whore and the other a sweet girl scout) as they go about their high school social lives via a collection of retrieved footage from their computers, camcorders and cellphones. They meet an online predator and things quickly go south for the best friends. Sort of like Strangeland but without the happy ending. By the by...has your 14 year old daughter ever taken part in a cocaine kiss?


The film is written and directed by Michael Goi, whose work you might recognize if you've watched alot of late night adult stuff in the 90's. But, he's more known for his brilliant cinematography from such gorgeous looking television shows as The Mentalist and Mr. Sunshine. He really knows his way around a camera. Unfortunately, everything is "found footage" in this film...so, his cinematography talents aren't really on display. Thus bringing us to one of our biggest issues with the film.

While watching I couldn't help but think how that video calling stuff wasn't available so casually back in 2007...when the film takes place. And even now you would have to pretty much have the same technology in order to make use of it. So, if Amy called Chelsea with her iphone and Chelsea had a Samsung flip phone...there just wouldn't be any video calling possible. I understand that this falls under a mere technicality in the details and those neglected details are just a small fraction of what we ultimately encounter in the film...but, it was a little distracting, nonetheless.


Another distraction was the acting...or lack of thereof. While the film is centered around Megan and Amy's relationship which is technically the heart and soul of Megan is Missing, the rest of the actors are often hilarious in their respective parts...which led to some unintentional chuckles and groans during our viewing. Amy's father, for example, is kind of a cornball who comes across as one of those recreation actors that the film later deals with. Sometimes, that kind of stuff takes you out of the film that you are trying to watch.

Yet another detriment to the film was much of the implausibilities during the progression of the story. I realize that Goi really wanted to get across how unsupervised children are today and how computer savvy they are, as well. But, if my daughter's best friend ever went missing due to an online predator...I think I might take away any means of connection that she might have to the internet...as well as demand police protection for her if she did happen to come forward with information pertinent to the case.

However, that does not take away from the experience that you will surely take with you once the credits role. What the film doesn't offer technically, it more than makes up for it in substance...which is pretty much the reason we go to the movies in the first place. Megan is Missing is a gut-wrenching, dead serious account of two 14 year old girls who meet an online entity who calls himself "skaterdude/Josh" who turns out to be the worst kind of online predator. I won't say too much more of the film...but, it wouldn't matter anyway. Because no words could ever prepare you for the final 22 minutes of this film. Even some of the more subtle stuff...like "Josh" in the background during one of Amy's diary testimonials and the surveillance camera footage showing Megan's apparent abduction are so eerily filmed that it comes across much scarier than more traditional horror films that deal with supernatural elements and what not.


The two leads are what sell the film. Megan and Amy. Megan is one of those girls who has been through some serious shit. There's one scene where she accounts a camping experience with an older counselor when she was 10 that are both disturbing and soul-stirring...and it is because of Rachel Quinn's acting abilities that you feel for the character. The same can be said of Amber Perkins' portrayal of Amy. A sweet and innocent young girl who is the rock in the friendship between her and Megan and by the time the final 22 minutes come...you can't help but want to reach through the screen and help poor Amy. A really fine job by both Quinn and Perkins to ultimately cement your emotions within the film's main characters.

Aside from I Saw the Devil, there is no other genre movie released this year that is quite as powerful as what Megan is Missing offers. Yes, it is a film riddled with flaws that force you to sit through two thirds of the film groaning and contemplating the point of the journey...but, once that final act of the film comes your way...you will not be prepared for the onslaught of what the human condition is capable of. God, I'm seriously still shuddering when I think of the look of desperation and abandoned hope that flashes across Amy's face during the "table scene". Those of you that have already seen the film can attest to the brutality that nestles into your psyche once the film ends. And yet...it's the kind of stuff that happens every day in the dark corners of this world. While you can stake a vampire through its heart or shoot a silver bullet into a werewolf or give a zombie some blunt trauma to the brain in order to stop all these monsters. There is no escaping the real horror that exists in our world. Just ask Jaycee Lee Dugard.

Strongly recommended for the teenage daughter in your life who thinks she knows everything.


3.5 out of 5


Do you know where your young daughters are? No...you don't.

Thanks for reading,

bryan.

2 comments:

  1. I watched thhis movie last night such a fucked up movie omg when amy is recording and he is in the backgrounf or when she is looking for the teddy and tje arm reaches for her that made me jump or when he is lime get in the barrel anr megans in it makes it makes you feel weird like i still feel unreal

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    1. Yeah...such an unsettling film. We still have nightmares about it. Be sure to check out the interview we did with both actresses in our interview section!

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