Note: This review mentions abuse and sexual assault, which may be triggering for some readers.
If you're like me – a horror fanatic with a TikTok account – you've probably heard of the 2011 film "Megan is Missing." The side of TikTok in which the algorithm presents you with true crime, the paranormal and everything in between, formally known as "HorrorTok," has been hyping up the movie for the past several weeks.
When I first started the film, I was confused. To call both the writing and the acting subpar would be generous. The viewer is meant to believe that the movie is a compilation of found footage, which it obviously is not. Not even in 2007, when the film takes place, were teenagers as cringy as the writing and subsequent acting made the characters out to be. I'd argue that the best performances were by those who had the least amount of screen time.
However, it's not the script and acting that bothers me most. The film is sprinkled with unimportant and unrelated storylines. For instance, Amy, the best friend of the missing Megan, calls herself "pudgy" at one point. Josh, the suspect believed to have taken Megan, also calls Amy fat. Spoiler alert: she's not, and these are the only times that narrative is brought up.
Megan's friends randomly accuse Amy of being at fault for Megan's disappearance, another nonsensical point. Megan is promiscuous as a product of her childhood trauma and an abusive home, a tired trope. It was as if writer and director Michael Goi couldn't pass up the opportunity to add in a cliché, even when it didn't pertain to the plot.
Goi is best known for his work on many different television shows, most notably "American Horror Story," "Glee" and "Scream Queens." Each one of these shows I would deem as objectively "good" or at least "better than average," therefore adding to my confusion as to why "Megan is Missing" is so bad.
I had to convince my boyfriend to let us finish the film. I stuck it out because I knew there was a reason for the hype. I knew the TikTok teens would not let me down.
Abuse, torture and rape are both discussed and shown in this movie. If you are dealing with trauma, I suggest you not watch "Megan is Missing."
Given the poor execution of the first 75% of the film, I was pleasantly surprised by the last 25%. Goi's lackluster directing and cliché scripting did not show much potential for a truly disturbing ending, but oh, did Goi deliver. In my personal opinion, the truly "scary" scenes were impressively creative and nuanced, at least in comparison to the rest of the film. Some TikTokers have gone so far as to call the film itself traumatizing. I wouldn't say I was traumatized by the movie, but it did compel me to write this article.
A few nights after I watched "Megan is Missing," I came across a TikTok made by Goi himself. Goi, who posed in front of a signed "American Horror Story" poster, gave three warnings to heed before one watches the film: Do not watch it in the middle of the night, do not watch it alone, and if you're already feeling fearful in the first portion of the movie, you have approximately four seconds to turn it off after the words "photo 1" come across your screen. Noted, Mr. Goi.