Missing (2023) Review

We review Missing, the standalone sequel to 2018’s Searching, directed by Nick Johnson and Will Merrick for their directorial debut.

PLOT: After her mom disappears while on vacation in Columbia, June (Reid) must search her digital trail to find answers.

REVIEW: Searching took Sundance by storm back in 2018, so it’s no surprise that we finally received a sort-of sequel with Missing. I say sort of because there are no returning characters. This is simply using the screen-based gimmick and combining it with a different person having disappeared. In fact, with how simple the premise is, I’m surprised it took them so long to get this going. But does this manage to have the same level of tension and intrigue? For the first half, at least.

In Searching, we follow a father as he tries to find his missing daughter, but here things are turned around by having a daughter looking for her missing mother. There’s a vulnerability present from the jump because this is not a fully grown individual. This is someone who doesn’t even do their own laundry yet has the drive and fortitude to look for her mom. It makes most of what she’s doing very impressive, as she’s mostly using her own True Crime knowledge to investigate. Sure, this leads to some absurd revelations, but, for the most part, the film shows you how she got from point A to point B even if it gets to be a bit much at times.

Storm Reid in Missing (2023).

Storm Reid is absolutely phenomenal as June, and the entire film rests on her shoulders. It’s no easy task to be front and center for so much of the film, with her voice driving many scenes. But she absolutely knocks it out of the park. Another person I need to mention is Joaquim de Almeida as Javi. This could have easily been a unimportant role, but Javi is one of the only emotional anchors, and so much of that has to do with Almeida. And while Nia Long does a great job as Grace, I had a lot of trouble with her character. The many different twists and turns diminish who she is and make her quite the dummy.

Because by the time the second act was in full swing, I had been rolling my eyes a lot. Almost everything they set up gets wiped away in some strange Lifetime movie scenario. I’m not going to spoil it here, but it feels like every bad True Crime scenario all rolled into one. But the biggest sin is that anyone paying close enough attention will figure out the twist well before it’s revealed. So you’re just waiting for poor June to finally figure out what you, the viewer figured out twenty minutes prior. Given that we are essentially in Grace’s shoes for the entirety of the film, this makes her look silly.

Megan Suri and Storm Reid in Missing (2023).

I would consider myself a big fan of “Screen-Based” horror movies because I love to see what filmmakers can do with the limitations it provides. But it seems they’re starting to get bored with the gimmick and trying to subvert it. Because even here, there are times with very artistic edits that feel very averse to what usually works with these films. By all means, do what you think benefits your movie, but I’m often left thinking, “Why make a screen-based movie at all then?” Thankfully, these moments are few and far between, but they are very distracting when they happen.

There are many twists and turns in Missing, and some are quite entertaining. Unfortunately, it goes overboard very quickly with all of them. The movie’s first half is a very tense mystery, and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Grace. But the second half was just silly twist after twist, most of which made me dislike the stuff that came before it. Like the first film, this will thrive on people projecting themselves onto the characters. What would they do in this situation? Would they have thought of that? And unfortunately, the answer is likely no. Because the situation provided is just…improbable. And that takes so much of the intrigue out of it.

Missing in IN THEATERS ON JANUARY 20TH, 2023.

Storm Reid in Missing (2023).

Missing (2023)



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Source: JoBlo.com

About the Author

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Tyler Nichols is a horror fanatic who resides in Michigan and is always on the hunt for the next great film. When not scouring the internet for movie news, he is usually off watching something dark, writing nonsensical musings, or playing in some fantastical video game world. While horror takes up most of his time, he still makes time for films of all types, with a certain affinity for the strange and unusual. He’s also an expert on all things Comic Book Cinema. In addition to reviews and interviews here on JoBlo.com, Tyler also helps with JoBlo Horror Originals where he’s constantly trying to convince viewers to give lesser-known horror films a chance.