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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review: Megan is Missing

Megan is Missing (2011)
Genre: Horror
Format: Netflix Stream
Director: Michael Goi

Now here's an interesting movie that actually manages to become a cautionary tale for parents as well as an exploitation cinema for the hardcore crowd. The only problem is, the film is so hard to watch that the former would be completely turned off by it. It also doesn't help that this film is probably not appropriate to be watched by younger viewers despite its focus on teen life.

Megan is Missing shamelessly combines the ongoings behind the 2004 murder of Carlie Brucia with the reference to Megan's Law and then then abused the "based on a true story" concept into the stratosphere. It's exploitative for sure but it's not without its merits. The entire movie is presented using supposedly collected video camera recordings of the 14 year old Megan and Amy, two best friends who are truly polar opposite to each other in terms of their personalities. Megan is addicted to drugs and boys while Amy is the school outcast who is not growing up as fast as the other girls. The movie does a very good job familiarizing you with the two girls and their daily lives, making their characters believable. The film takes its time to ensure that you could connect to one or both of these girls before they started communicating with who they think is a boy from another school by the name of Josh using online chat. At first, the film seemed to be quite tame even though the ideas involving the kidnappings and the potential murders of these girls are disturbing enough but then film decided to tie everything up with something remarkably brutal. The last twenty minutes or so is so dark and unforgiving: a nasty sequence of human suffering that  is both extremely shocking and sad.

The only problem I have with the movie is that it tries to lighten up the situation somewhere in there with a rather comical representation of the news media and it seems so out of place in comparison to the ultra-realism that the movie is striving for. Other than that though, this is a powerful movie that enforces the idea of stranger danger to its fullest. With its creative storytelling device and its bitter, hard to swallow message that there are people out there who want to do us a lot of harm, Megan is Missing may be a bit deficient in its integrity but it certainly isn't missing a lot of impact.

RATING: 4 out of 5

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