Let me start by saying that this movie is both important and hugely disturbing. It’s based on actual events which is enough to make you sick. So here we go: After watching the massively messed up movie The Poughkeepsie Tapes for the Podcastmania radio show that I am a part of, the conversation led to a movie with the show’s host, Charlie Brown, saying that if The Poughkeepsie Tapes was disturbing for someone then “you don’t want to see Megan Is Missing”. Well, that sounded like a challenge, so I watched it.
Megan Is Missing is a movie that falls into that genre of ‘found footage’ yet it’s a lot more in-depth than that. I went in not really knowing what to expect besides my guess that it was a movie about a girl named Megan who goes missing. Obviously. But as the film went on I was both not only emotionally disturbed over the way the 14 year old teenager, Megan (played by Rachel Quinn) haphazardly lived a care free life of sex, drugs and douchey guys, but also knowing that this was based on actual events really knocks you around. Megan’s best friend is 13 year old Amy Herman (played by Amber Perkins) and is everything Megan isn’t when it comes to behavioural lifestyle choices. Amy feels like an outsider and at times wonders why Megan is even friends with someone so vanilla and unadventurous, so to speak. It should also be noted that both girls were around 20, I believe, when they played these parts which has to be said that they played their parts incredibly well.
So as the story goes, after we see Megan party hard, Andrew WK style, we see how fragile she really is when she is alone with Amy divulging secrets and disclosing the happenings in her life which is told via webcam chats ala Skype. There are moments that are heartbreaking such as when Amy interviews Megan and she reveals details of her unfortunate past. It’s here where we see that both Amy and Megan are what sells this movie. It’s almost as if these girls weren’t acting and were actually lifelong friends.
Through one of these webcam chats we find out that Megan is told about a “sensitive” and “shy” guy named ‘Josh’ aka Skaterdude by his screen name, whose webcam is conveniently broken but he sends through some pictures to entice Megan. He puts on his nice guy persona and invites her to a party to which he doesn’t actually introduce himself to Megan. She’s pissed but soon believes his confessions that he was too shy to talk to her. Megan is suddenly swept away by his sensitivity and he then wishes to reschedule a meet up. He successfully persuades Megan into meeting him behind a diner and we see Megan leave to go meet him and unfortunately, we never see her again.
The movie is then mainly told through Amy’s handycam video diary entries and the news reports on Megan’s disappearance. Amy contacts Josh to see if he knows anything about her disappearance to where he advises her that she never showed up to meet him yet then starts his nice guy act on her. Being such an innocent yet weary girl, she starts to catch on that he may be behind Megan’s disappearance. She tells the police what she knows, Josh contacts her and begins threatening her. While recording one of her diary entries, Amy is kidnapped. As the films continues, you will not only feel uncomfortable over what you are seeing onscreen but also emotionally distressed over the safety of these two girls. But unfortunately, this is just only the beginning of what is to come.
Before the film really enters the realm of completely fucked up-ness, we are shown two photos of Megan that once you’ve seen them, you can’t un-see them. From here we are advised that the following footage is of the last 22 minutes that were on Amy’s video camera and this is where the film really messes you up. I won’t spoil what happens from here on but just know that watching this film, depending on how weak your stomach is for such horrific things, you are going to see some things you probably wish you hadn’t.
The film is not so much a horror movie as it is just plain horrible with its disturbing subject matter. It is here to warn people, especially easily influenced teenagers, of the dangers of the Internet, talking to strangers online, revealing too much of yourself on social media and the unfortunate reality of sick online predators. Megan Is Missing is also a movie that will no doubt generate some intense discussion. There are parts of Megan Is Missing that will stick with you for days, possibly weeks, after viewing. It’s highly effective in its horrific nature and that’s something that you can make your own mind up on whether it’s a film you need or even want to see.
Writer and Director Michael Goi really managed to get an important message across to its viewers, and while the movie has received both positive and negative reviews, personally I found it a disturbing yet effective piece of work that will have probably have me talking about it for years to come. Since viewing it this week I have pretty much asked everyone I know who likes horror movies if they have seen it. Something I didn’t do when I saw movies like Pighunt and Death Valley, just sayin’. It’s impact is strong so prepare yourself if this movie sounds like your thing.
Wanting to know more, I found this online interview with Rachel Quinn and Amber Perkins after the filming was completed and it sheds light on just how they got themselves into the certain aspects of their roles and the support they gave each other through the filming, especially during the last 22 minutes. It’s quite an interesting read and if you watch the movie I would recommend reading these also.
You can order Megan Is Missing from Amazon for a couple bucks at this link or if you’re in Australia, you can find it at JB Hifi at this link.