When the Found Footage craze was running on all cylinders, there were so many contributors that it was impossible to keep up. During a wave of the earlier part of those years, we received many different styles of found footage before they heavily relied on the supernatural for almost 80% of them all. But back in 2011, a budding director had an idea so simple and potent that it was instantly talked about and became the stuff of Legends. It faded away into obscurity for about a decade until early last year when a TikTok video went viral when a bunch of teenagers had recently discovered the horrifying footage that is ‘Megan is Missing’.
‘Megan is Missing’ is one of the ultra-realistic entries that goes perfectly in-hand with ‘The Poughkeepsie Tapes’. It’s told exclusively through a handheld camera, webcams, and news footage. The story revolves around 14-year-old Megan and her 13-year-old best friend Amy. Amy gets a new video camera for her birthday and decides to film everything. Her & Megan are practically soul sisters – they make each other feel extremely loved and comfortable with what feels like a truly honest friendship. Megan is one of the most popular girls in school and has a very large social circle, but Amy is a loner who basically only has Megan & her own family. She is bullied, ignored, and treated like shit by all the other kids throughout the entirety of this film. Megan though, is the literal life of the party. A large majority of this film is just following these girls around as they interact with other people or each other. The relationships feel real and kinetic, no matter how grotesque some of them may be. Some scenes even just involve Megan & Amy talking, and sometimes Megan is sharing stories of her sexual experiences from when she was only 10-years-old. The view into the psychology of these children feels intimate and makes our connection with them strong.
There’s an early scene where Megan is invited to a party, and she really wants Amy to go with her to socialize, but the guy throwing the party says he’ll only let her go if Megan “does him a favor”, and she agrees to this. The party scene we encounter early on is rather terrifying in it’s own way – we see for an extended period of time a large group of middle schoolers party, sniff cocaine, perform sexual activities, vomit, fight, and more. All this is a precursor as we grow to learn more about our main kids and witness explicit detail as Megan lives in an abusive household that she yearns to run away from. A short while after this big party, a friend of Megan’s introduces her to her 17-year-old online friend “Skaterdude” (AKA ‘Josh’) who she met in a chat room. Megan and him get close and decide to meet up… and then, Megan goes missing.
The next act of this film is Amy shooting a video diary while trying to find clues to where she vanished to. Media outlets have multiple reports on the story while Amy begins to stumble upon the truth of what happened to her friend.
Nothing though could have prepared me for the last 30 minutes of this film… it has some of the most harrowing, nauseating footage I’ve had to watch in a while. It’s just… destruction on all levels. I won’t go into details for spoilers’ sake, but there is no happy ending to this film. You are forced to watch things you will wish to immediately unsee, hear sounds that will rattle your senses, and the silence that slowly.. eh.. builds.. at the end will haunt you. It’s an ultrarealistic film that has rightfully earned it’s reputation as a Video Nasty. It’s difficult to watch, annoyingly candid in the beginning, and you just feel so sorry for both of these kids. And that’s the biggest kicker – they’re fucking CHILDREN. The director claims it is inspired by research on 7 different actual child abduction stories, which brings you to the real horror – this may be a fake film, but the horror is absolutely real.
I don’t usually do this, but trigger warnings beware. The film does not hint at how shocking the ending really goes, and even when most of it is suggested instead of directly being filmed, it’s just as effective.
Be careful with this one, its slow for quite a long time, but then it bites and it doesn’t let go.
‘Til Next Time,
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