Friday, December 13, 2013

Megan is Missing (2011)

Director – Michael Goi
Writers – Michael Goi
Production Company – Trio Pictures
Stars – Rachel Quinn, Amber Perkins

Megan is Missing is a movie about two best friends who end up missing after being targeted by an online predator. Megan is a 14 year old popular girl at her school, though she’s popular for all the wrong reasons. She’s sexually active, partying, yet still seems to maintain excellent grades at her High School.  Megan has an oddball best friend named Amy, 13.  Amy is reserved and not well liked by Megan’s partying crowd.  The two form a very tight relationship though, Megan needs a true friend who doesn’t use her and Amy is drawn to Megan’s outgoing personality and ability to navigate life on the popular side.

The whole movie is made up of found footage and videos of the girls talking to each other via skype, I have to say that I was caught off guard with all the frank talk of sex between the teens like it was no big deal.  I think that’s because I’m 35 and their 13/14….I was thinking to myself please tell me kids these days don’t rattle off talk like this at 13/14 and please dear lord never let my daughter do these types of things! I bet a lot of teens are like this though, so while it shocked me I bet it’s not too far from the truth (yes I do realize not all kids are like this).  You are also presented with reasons throughout the film that give you a little look into why Megan is so “free” with herself – disturbing too.

Megan is played by Rachel Quinn, I feel her acting throughout the film came off as very believable.  Like I said there’s a lot of each of the girls talking directly into cameras while they’re skyping and I felt she was very natural and bubbly like a real teenager would be.  Amy on the other hand was far less believable, I didn’t get much emotion from her and couldn’t quite connect or feel for her.

Light Spoilers

There’s a couple of scenes in this movie that go on for far too long, one of them is when Megan brings her friend Amy to a party.  First of all Megan has to trade favors just to get Amy in, again please dear lord never let my daughter do these types of things.  The party scene must go on for 15 minutes, it’s all random music and teens acting up.  The supporting characters in this movie do not give great performances (painful and very bad), I almost LOL a few times.  This particular scene just gets old, it’s not that it came off really fake as far as the set-up, but sometimes I think scenes go on for far too long.  I don’t always need a point hammered to me for 15 minutes to achieve the goal.


Megan eventually begins chatting with an unknown kid named Josh via skype at home on her PC.  Josh has a broken camera, so Megan can’t see him during their conversations.  I can totally see an unsuspecting girl not getting up in arms over this, look at the show Catfish.  People go months without seeing who they're talking to on the other end.  For a teenager, and in this movie, I don’t see this as a flaw or something Megan should have been worried about.

Eventually Megan goes missing, hence the title.  Amy is distraught from the second she notices Megan’s gone.  The next shots are straight from the HLN Network, can you say Nancy Grace?  Nancy Grace's news show isn’t my favorite, but I do see it ALL THE TIME.  Plaster pictures of the beautiful missing teens on the TV, talk about how loved she was, how popular she was, make “important” reenactments of the crime for the TV audience etc.  I even had a little laugh as after they spend 15 minutes talking up Megan and urging the public to find her, the newscaster then spends 2 seconds also letting her viewing audience know there's a missing teen in Crenshaw. Let’s just say that Crenshaw teen didn’t get as much pub as our California Queen.

To be honest this was a great part of the movie.  Seeing these types of newscasts in a movie, made me realize how effed up some of these shows are.  Sure we get the word out about a missing person, that’s good, but the shows are so pumped up on adrenaline and ratings that it’s also a little bit sickening. 

Eventually Megan reaches out to the last person who had contact with Megan, and that’s when “Josh” lets his true colors show.  Soon both teens are missing and we get to find out what happened, it’s not nice of course.
Now up to this point I don’t really like the movie that much, Execution and timing is bad so when you finally reach the climax, and get to see what happened to these girls, it was fairly brief.  You get your run of the mill girl in a cage chained up scenario and a rape scene (made very uncomfortable not just because it’s rape (that’s bad enough) but the thought of her only being 14 makes it all the more torturous.

But more torturous then that rape scene is the two hundred gabillion million minute scene of “Josh” getting rid of Amy.  I swear to you, you get to watch a guy shovel for approximately 20 minutes.  This went on for far too long.  This is another case of “dude, I get it”.  If you hang on though, you are rewarded with a chilling scene and thought. As Josh is burying Amy she’s still alive, as he covers her with dirt you get to hear her pleading for her life but her voice fading underneath the dirt - So disturbing and heartbreaking.

I also have to get this out, if you’re going to use found footage for scenes there absolutely must be a reason for this footage to have been recorded in the first place.  The end of Megan is missing is sorely guilty of giving us no reason for the last 22 minutes of footage to exist.

End Spoilers

Overall the story is great.  I think with better execution, better pacing, and a few acting classes this could have been better.  Josh definitely could have been given a larger role too, a peak into his world, just a peak now!  I don’t need hardcore motivation, shoot he’s a predator and that’s that.  It just would have been nice to understand his methods and want for teens personally.

I can really only recommend this to horror movie lovers who like to try everything out, despite the great idea it’s pretty painful to watch.  I will however keep this director/writers name in my mind, he’s got a chance to do better as far as directing and writing an entire movie.

- Michael Goi has quite a few cinematography award nominations and one win, looks like he's also worked on AHS.  Here's his IMDB Page.