Friday, January 27, 2012
Megan Is Missing (2011)
Many thanks to my friend, the illustrious BJ-C over at Day of the Woman for turning me on to this film that has one humdinger of an ending. It is of the found footage variety but with multiple videos strung together that are also interspersed with some 'real' news footage. It tells the story of two girls who are far too carefree and trusting of those whom they meet, especially online. And some subtle commentary of teens today plays out as we go along.
Megan and Amy are two seemingly normal teenage girls. They like to talk about boys and videotape themselves being silly and doing, well, normal silly teenage girl things. But that soon gives way to a wild side which is shown about Megan. Sure she likes to participate with Amy in the silly girly shenanigans. But when other 'friends' come-a-calling, and the night falls, she becomes someone entirely different. A girl much too footloose and fancy free for someone being so young. She is not at all under the care and watch of involving parents.
Much to her reluctance, Amy is dragged out to one of Megan's outings one night. Cameras shift perspective as we meet a party organizer who's videotaping the whole affair, having invited a bunch of these young adults over for a good time (AKA drugs, booze and sex). Amy is the outcast as not only does she not participate in anything that's in front of her, but she's met with instant disapproval among the party goers who think that she's just one big fat loser.
But despite a terrible night and her friend going down on some random guy to score drugs, that doesn't deter Amy. She still loves her best friend despite her reckless and uncontrolled ways. Mommy and daddy have bought her a new video camera which she uses to continue to document just how silly but normal a teenager she is: interviewing mom, bugging dad, giving a tour of her house, etc. Pretty harmless stuff. However, things take a turn towards the dark when she interviews Megan and she breaks down about her current home life and what actually occurred in the household wherein she grew up.
The revelations which Megan gives on camera is just the tip of the iceberg. She soon tells Amy of an interaction she had with a man online and her desire to meet him because of a supposed 'connection.' Amy is at first suspicious but when a 'real' photo of the skateboard loving dude is produced, her concerns are eased. But when Megan doesn't return home after a planned encounter, she becomes worried. Further interaction with the online man only furthers her concern and she eventually alerts the news and local authorities.
As things play out in the media, here is where our subtle commentary takes place: Megan is painted as the picture of the All-American girl. Smart, beautiful and popular, she's the type of girl you'd want your son to date and your daughter to emulate. It's so eerie that you start to wonder 'Is this the picture of every missing teenage, white, middle-American girl that is painted and are they incredibly far off from reality?' Our story turns to the all-out grotesque as Amy is taken by Megan's captor and the true horror that has happened to her is revealed and innocent Amy endures the same.
Megan Is Missing is one kick you in the gut film even though you may see the ending coming from a mile away. However, nothing can prepare you for what you'll see. Despite some glaring logic gaps (why would Amy's parents continue to let her go out by herself even though they knew a kidnapper was loose?), the realistic story is gripping and compelling. And it's not something that's too far off from something you'd see plastered on the front page of the morning paper. And my god, the 'barrel scene' (you'll know it once you see it) is enough to bring most genre watching vets to their knees.
Megan Is Missing is currently available to stream via NetFlix.
Cortez the Killer