Missing is a 2023 American screenlife thriller film written and directed by Will Merrick and Nick Johnson (in their feature directorial debuts) from a story by Sev Ohanian and Aneesh Chaganty, who also produced the film with Natalie Qasabian. The film is a standalone sequel to Searching (2018). It stars Storm Reid, Joaquim de Almeida, Ken Leung, Amy Landecker, Daniel Henney, and Nia Long. Its plot follows June Allen, a teenager who tries to find her missing mother after she disappears on vacation in Colombia with her new boyfriend.

Theatrical release poster
Directed by
  • Will Merrick
  • Nick Johnson
Screenplay by
  • Will Merrick
  • Nick Johnson
Story by
Produced by
CinematographySteven Holleran
Edited by
  • Austin Keeling
  • Arielle Zakowski
Music byJulian Scherle
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release dates
  • January 19, 2023 (2023-01-19) (Sundance)
  • January 20, 2023 (2023-01-20) (United States)
Running time
111 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[1]
Budget$7 million[2]
Box office$48.8 million[3][4]

An anthology sequel to Searching was announced in 2019, with Merrick and Johnson, who edited the first film, signing on to make their directorial debuts in January 2021. Reid and Long joined the cast in the spring of 2021, and filming took place in Los Angeles from March to May that year after delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Missing also serves as a spiritual sequel to Run (2020), directed by Searching director Chaganty and edited by Merrick and Johnson, confirming the fates of that film's characters.

Missing had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2023, and was released in the United States the following day, by Sony Pictures Releasing. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed $48 million at the box office.

Plot edit

18-year-old June Allen lives with her single mother Grace in a suburb of Los Angeles. Despite being close, June is annoyed at Grace's attempts to micromanage her life. When Grace heads out for a vacation to Cartagena, Colombia with her boyfriend Kevin, June spends the time partying while trying to avoid her mom's lawyer friend Heather.

A week later, June awaits her mother and Kevin at LAX, but they never arrive, and an inquiry at the hotel reveals that their luggage never left. When the FBI attaché at the American consulate are unable to make any headway, June decides to investigate herself, eventually hiring Javier, a Colombian gig worker who complies with June's requests for a small fee.

June cracks the password to Kevin's Gmail account, in which she discovers a number of aliases and a criminal record of scamming many women for their money. Believing Kevin to have kidnapped her mother, June has Javier look for clues as to their whereabouts in Colombia. She traces Kevin's past movements to a location in Nevada, where she talks to Jimmy, a pastor at a Christian rehabilitation center for ex-convicts, who her that Kevin has been rehabilitated and is genuinely in love with Grace; Kevin's online dating profile seemingly confirms this, as past messages reveal that her mother was already aware of Kevin's past.

FBI agent Elijah Park informs June that he received footage of a band of criminals kidnapping Kevin and Grace in Colombia. June quickly unmasks this as a fabricated event, as she discovered Kevin had hired a lookalike actress named Rachel Page to impersonate her mother, who had been kidnapped en route to LAX beforehand; it is revealed that Grace went by another name in the past, sparking speculation online that she had something to do with her own disappearance.

Swearing by her mother's innocence, June's suspicions fall on Heather when she discovers an encrypted line of communication between her and Kevin, leading June to confront Heather intending to capture evidence of her wrongdoing, but finds her office ransacked with her computer in the process of being erased. She then discovers Heather's corpse in a storage closet. Later, June views live footage of a police raid in Colombia focusing on Kevin, who is shot and killed despite surrendering.

Seemingly at a dead end, June is about to give up and shut off her computer, but figures out the password to her mother's email from old voice-mails. Checking through her blocked users, she finds a threatening e-mail directed at Grace, which leads her to discover security cameras that Kevin bought to install at an abandoned house, which happens to be her old vacation home in Nevada.

Jimmy arrives and reveals that he is June's father James, who June thought died of a brain tumor when she was a kid. He claims that Grace was emotionally unstable and took June away from him after having him arrested under false charges. However, when he unwittingly reveals he was in the same prison around the same time Kevin was incarcerated, June realizes James and Kevin planned the entire ruse. It is revealed that James was a drug addict whose abuse endangered his family; Grace and Heather had told June he died of cancer in order to protect her. James sought revenge by enlisting Kevin, whom he met in prison, to pose as a prospective boyfriend so he could find Grace and June.

James kidnaps June and takes her to the abandoned house, where Grace is also detained. When Grace finds out that James had taken June, she attempts to escape but is shot. James tries to leave with June, but Grace fatally stabs him in the neck with a shard of broken glass. James locks them inside the room again and attempts to search for a nearby hospital on his computer, but dies while doing so. June, realizing James never shut off her laptop when he kidnapped her, uses the audio feed on the security cameras to tell Siri to call 911.

One year later, Grace has survived her gunshot wound, and June is in college. Their story has been adapted on the true crime show Unfiction, and Grace has started a friendship with Javier after June introduced them. June texts her mother that she loves her, and Grace responds that she loves her too.

Cast edit

Production edit

In August 2019, a standalone sequel to Searching (2018) was announced to be in development, with the original film's director, Aneesh Chaganty, clarifying that the story would not "follow the same characters or plot line as the original", making the series an anthology.[5] In November 2020, producer Natalie Qasabian said the COVID-19 pandemic had postponed production on the film, simply going under the title Searching 2.[6] In January 2021, it was announced that Will Merrick and Nick Johnson, the editors on the first film and Chaganty's Run (2020), would write and direct the film in their directorial debuts, with additional literary material by Micah Ariel Watson, and producer of Unfriended and Searching Timur Bekmambetov to executive produce the sequel with Ohanian, Chaganty, and Qasabian.[7][8] In the following months, Storm Reid and Nia Long joined the cast.[9][10]

Principal photography took place from March 30 to May 30, 2021, in Los Angeles, California.[11] In September 2022, the film's title was revealed to be Missing, with the film set for a 2023 release date.[12] In November 2022, producer and co-story writer Sev Ohanian revealed on Reddit that the film would also be set after Run, serving as an epilogue to the events of that film as well as a continuation of Searching.[13]

Release edit

Missing was theatrically released in the United States on January 20, by Sony Pictures Releasing under their Screen Gems banner.[14] It was originally scheduled for February 24, 2023.[12][15]

Home media edit

Missing was released on digital platforms on March 7, 2023, and on DVD and Blu-ray on March 28, 2023.[16] It was then released on Netflix on May 20th, and became the number 1 most streamed movie in the US within 2 days.

Reception edit

Box office edit

Missing grossed $32.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $16.3 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $48.8 million.[3][4]

Missing made $3.4 million on its first day, including $760,000 from Thursday night previews.[2] It went on to debut to a $9.2 million weekend, finishing fourth behind holdovers Avatar: The Way of Water, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and M3GAN.[17] The film made $5.7 million in its second weekend, finishing in sixth.[18]

Critical response edit

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 88% of 145 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The website's consensus reads: "Missing can strain credulity in its efforts to keep the audience guessing, but a fast pace and relatable fears keep this twisty techno-thriller from completely losing its way."[19] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 66 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[20] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while those polled by PostTrak gave it an 81% positive score, with 60% saying they would definitely recommend it.[2]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Missing (15)". BBFC. Archived from the original on January 14, 2023. Retrieved January 13, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 22, 2023). "'Avatar 2' & More Putting Year's Running Box Office Over Half Billion- Sunday Update". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 20, 2023. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  3. ^ a b "Missing (2023)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved March 17, 2023.
  4. ^ a b "Missing (2023)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved March 17, 2023.
  5. ^ Cooper, Gael Fashingbauer (August 14, 2019). "John Cho's Searching will get a tech-driven sequel with new faces". CNET. Archived from the original on February 3, 2023. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  6. ^ Pearson, Ben (November 20, 2020). "The Biggest Run Easter Eggs and Cameos, and an Update on Searching 2". SlashFilm. Archived from the original on June 19, 2021. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  7. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (January 13, 2021). "Sony's Stage 6 Sets Will Merrick & Nick Johnson To Direct Searching Sequel". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 6, 2023. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  8. ^ "Searching 2". Writers Guild of America West. March 2, 2022. Archived from the original on September 21, 2022. Retrieved September 18, 2022.
  9. ^ Kroll, Justin (March 4, 2021). "Storm Reid In Talks To Star In Searching Sequel For Sony's Stage 6 Films". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 6, 2023. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  10. ^ Kroll, Justin (April 7, 2021). "Nia Long Joins Storm Reid In Next Installment Of Searching Franchise". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 13, 2023. Retrieved April 8, 2021.
  11. ^ "Film and TV Projects Going Into Production – Searching 2". Variety Insight. Archived from the original on March 23, 2021. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  12. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 16, 2022). "New Karate Kid Movie Among Sony Pictures Release Date Adds; Kraven The Hunter, Madame Web Move & More". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 17, 2022. Retrieved September 16, 2022.
  13. ^ u/sevohanian (November 10, 2022). "The sequel to Searching, titled "Missing", now releasing January 20th". Reddit. Archived from the original on January 22, 2023. Retrieved November 10, 2022. [in response to u/deleted's comment: "are you gonna do a sequel to Run too?] u/sevohanian: To be honest, unlikely[,] but if you pay attention in MISSING.... you may find out what has continued to happen to those characters in RUN :)
  14. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 10, 2022). "'Missing': Sony Moves 'Searching' Pic Up To January". Deadline. Archived from the original on November 10, 2022. Retrieved November 10, 2022.
  15. ^ Couch, Aaron (September 16, 2022). "Sony Sets Karate Kid Movie for Summer 2024, Pushes Back Kraven and Madame Web". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 27, 2022. Retrieved October 29, 2022.
  16. ^ "Missing DVD Release Date March 28, 2023". DVDs Release Dates. Archived from the original on March 20, 2023. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
  17. ^ "Domestic 2023 Weekend 3". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on January 23, 2023. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  18. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 29, 2023). "'Avatar 2' Now No. 11 Among Top-Grossing US Pics Of All-Time, Bests 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' – Box Office Sunday". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 28, 2023. Retrieved January 29, 2023.
  19. ^ "Missing (2022)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 5, 2023.
  20. ^ "Missing Reviews". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved February 16, 2023.

External links edit