Directors Nick Johnson and Will Merrick talk ‘Missing’

Directors Nick Johnson and Will Merrick talk ‘Missing’

The single sequel to Search is here, and like its predecessor, Missing weigh in on some big topics using social media and technology. Nia Long and Storm Reid are the main actors in this film, Grace and June Allen. Missing It follows the mysterious twists and turns of Grace’s disappearance as June puts everything together at home using her laptop and some social media hacking. But while the film will draw you in as a suspenseful thriller with stunning editing and visual novel storytelling, its real appeal lies in the thematic elements that set up its whirlwind plot.

At first glance, Missing It might be a crime story about the many rabbit holes on the internet that undermine our privacy. But the film is more concerned with the public’s obsession with finding the perfect victim and villain for a news story. It’s a setup created and fueled by a seemingly never-ending wave of true-crime content that highlights real-life tragedies, often at the expense of people of color. MissingA real story is how quick people (and the internet) are to villainize and neglect people of color if they get another TikTok hit or Netflix true crime special.

What happens in Missing?

Two teenage girls sit on a couch scrolling on their laptops.


Credit: Sony Pictures

“A lot of this film is playing with your biases, and the ways in which you might misunderstand something.”

When Grace Allen fails to return from her vacation in Colombia with her new boyfriend Kevin (Ken Leung), time is of the essence. As the detectives drag their heels to investigate her disappearance, June takes matters into her own social media-savvy hands to find out what happened to her mother. even though Missing string you for many plot twists, the big revelation is that Grace did not really go to Colombia; She is kidnapped on her way to the airport by June’s father, James (Tim Griffin).

James was very dangerously abusive to Grace when June was young. Thus, Grace fled with June to California years earlier, changing their names and leaving young June to believe that her father was dead. As it turned out, James met Kevin while they were both in prison. Kevin helped direct this entire episode by hiring actors to play their Colombia vacation gone wrong. Although all eyes and fingers were pointing at Kevin in Colombia, Grace was trapped in a shackle in the James ranch the whole time. After a series of trials and tribulations, June manages to save the day and bring her mom back home.

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What does Missingand finally mean actually?

A man and a woman enter a cabin.


Credit: Sony Pictures

Mashable went on a quick Zoom with the co-directors of Conradh na Gaeilge MissingNick Johnson and Will Merrick, to discuss the subtext of their film.

“There was one [high profile] case especially when it felt like people on TikTok were taking advantage of the commentary and theories of this case, which we really didn’t love,” Johnson shared. “And so we put that into the movie itself because we saw we that happening [in real life].”

When Grace goes missing when the news breaks, everything about her case soon becomes click bait on the internet. True crime aficionados TikTokkers and Gen Z digging into Grace’s past and discovering that she has something to hide. The audience knows that Grace changed her name to escape her abuser, but the internet does not and is determined to make her a villain.

The wave of true crime TikToks pouring in and pointing to Grace as the real puppet master behind everything shows how quick society is to point fingers at single black women (or men) instead of looking at the big picture. “We definitely thought about the missing white girl syndrome when doing this,” Merrick said. “A lot of this film is playing with your biases and the ways in which you might misunderstand something, even you as the audience and not the real crime people we’re criticizing.”

I Missing, creators of true crime content don’t operate with empathy, they don’t stop to think about what would motivate Grace to change her name in the first place. Instead, they hope for a dangerous media bandwagon for all the haste, jumping to scandalous conclusions. Cat Cardenas is a phenomenon at Iris Slinnte(Opens in a new window) referred to as “the mastermind of real crime,” and we can see it every day, on screen and off.

even though Missing A wild roller coaster with a series of potentially out of the ordinary events, much of the film is based on real-life inspiration that guides the actions of its characters. The real joy of the film is watching your FYP TikTok page fed to you on the big screen — dish out all things true crime and what it can create.

Missing out in theaters.

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