Monday Mystery Movie: ‘Missing’ tells the tale of a daughter who will do anything to save her missing mother

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

Regal Cinemas has started the year off right, jumping into 2023 with a new Monday Mystery Movie which premiered on Jan. 9.

The past two MMM’s, Regal showed two Apple TV+ films, “Spirited” and “The Greatest Beer Run Ever,” so I was expecting yet another platform exclusive film to be shown. However, that was not the case.

This time around, Regal showed the upcoming mystery/drama/thriller, “Missing,” which released in theaters on Jan. 20. 

“Missing” follows a teenage girl, June (Storm Reid), as she discovers her mom (Nia Long) has gone missing while on a trip to Colombia with her boyfriend (Ken Lueng).

When the United States Government refuses to go to Colombia for clues, June entrusts the responsibility to a Colombian TaskRabbit employee, Javier, who helps her by running errands and gathering evidence — all while becoming a friend and a source for emotional support in the process. 

Through her investigation, June discovers secrets and hidden pasts in a mind-blowing series of plot twists.

“Missing” is primarily filmed using June’s laptop screen, meaning characters are captured  through FaceTime and WhatsApp calls, Ring Doorbell footage and social media posts, never through a traditional camera. Think of the 2014 film “Unfriended,” which was filmed similarly, using Skype calls to tell the story.

This alternate filming style gives the movie a unique and modern feel, and ties in dozens of popular platforms including Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Ring Doorbell, YouTube and many more.

In the beginning of the movie, it may feel like one big ad for Apple since you see June texting and FaceTiming all on her Apple MacBook, but as the film progresses, you become so immersed in the plot and storyline, the “sponsored” feeling quickly resides.

Typically, I tend to turn away from movies that attempt to tie in modern “lingo” and pop culture, as it can feel like a desperate attempt to seem cool with younger audiences, but I didn’t once get that vibe from “Missing.”

Social media and the news play a huge role in bringing the story together and developing June’s character.

The commitment to incorporating mainstream culture into the plot helped give it a more natural feel, as well as making it relatable in a sense. Seeing June watch a TikTok live about her mom’s disappearance is something the Gen Z viewer can semi-relate to, especially those who enjoy watching true-crime videos on the popular platform.

The screenplay was very well done. The dialogue was smooth and didn’t feel forced, and the film was perfectly paced. Almost immediately we jump into the action, which helps avoid a tedious start that can often lose a viewer’s attention. 

[Still image from Nicholas D. Johnson and Will Merrick’s 2023 film “Missing,” starring Storm Reid.]
Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

The screenwriters don’t risk any slow moments throughout the film either. The writers constantly deviate from any expected outcome. Even when you think you’ve figured it out, something new throws you for a loop.

Storm Reid, most popularly known for her role as Gia in “Euphoria” and Meg in “A Wrinkle in Time,” is developing into an impressive actress and appears to be a star in the making. Her performance in “Missing” was bone-chilling and made me feel tense and riddled with anxiety, eager to see what her next move would be. 

The plot of this movie is beyond unexpected. The twists and turns kept the audience on its toes, so much so that you could hear the collective gasps and murmurs every time a new twist occurred. 

This movie is an amazing combination of thriller and mystery, as it’s vague enough to keep the audience guessing, but exciting enough to keep the audience engaged and wanting more. 

According to IMDB, “Missing” is rated PG-13 for “some strong violence, language, teen drinking, and thematic material.”

“Missing” is a movie that is great the first time you see it, and may be even better watching it for a second time. When I go see it again, I know I’ll be looking for all the little hints I may have missed the first time around. 

This movie is an entertaining, white-knuckle mystery with a hint of comedy that will keep the audience anticipated for what’s yet to come.

“Missing” was released in theaters on Jan. 20, and it’s a film you don’t want to miss.

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