Friday, May 31, 2013

Film Review: Megan is Missing (2011)

Megan is Missing (Review)
United States/2011
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

Megan and Amy are best friends, despite being complete opposites. Megan comes from a broken home filled with sexual abuse, and sees Amy as her only true friend. Amy is mistreated by most of her peers, yet she handles it very well, living an innocent life. One day, Megan meets Josh online, who goes by "Skaterdude"; Josh's webcam is broken, so he can only share a picture and his voice with the people he contacts...

As they develop a quick online relationship, Megan agrees to meet the seemingly shy and gentle Josh behind a diner. The next day, Amy contacts Megan's friends and Josh as Megan has gone missing. The media quickly capitalizes on the news, reporting of an "innocent" Megan, a "heartbroken" mother, and a ridiculous reenactment. Amy suspects foul play from Josh, which places her into the crosshairs of a vicious online predator.

The story in this film is good. It does work as a cautionary tale to an extent. However, I think it would be too overwhelming for children and parents alike. It's a raw story of the dangers that lurk on the internet, and the monsters that easily manipulate teenagers. The message is there, but the writing was very stereotypical - the conversations of these teenage girls don't feel authentic, as if they were written by a mid-30s male with little experience around teenagers. I mean, really, how often do teenagers call each other "slut" or "ho". There are certain scenes where the writing does shine, however, and we can see the real struggles within Megan and Amy. The last 25 minutes of the film are very disturbing, very blunt - ending with a long, dreadful plea for life. This final act starts up with two very disturbing photographs, and it features a rape scene, along with an unexpectedly shocking scene that I won't spoil.

The acting was okay. As I said previously, the story suffers from stereotypical writing, which strongly affects the delivery of the dialogue. Although they seem believable at times, the dialogue from both leads can often be cringe-worthy. The rest of the cast also suffers from poor delivery and dialogue - a lot of it simply doesn't feel real. The few times that the stars shine are great, however; Amber Perkins as Amy genuinely feels like an awkward and innocent teenager and she really captures the right emotions at the right moments. So, the acting wasn't the largest fault, the writing was.

This is a found-footage film. It often uses a shaky-cam, but it mosly relies on webcam and Facetime-like chats. (I don't think this technology - the cellphone video chat - was available in
2007, so that was odd.) It feels very realistic towards the end, and very intense, as well. Of course, all of the footage is fake - but, the fact that this film is based on several real events is chilling, nonetheless. This shouldn't be shown to children as a cautionary tale. If you're an adult that can handle it, this might make you want to monitor your children's online activity much, much more.

Overall, Megan is Missing is an effective drama/horror film with a vicious final act. Although it has an important message to convey, the delivery is stifled by unrealistic writing/dialogue and some poor acting. I recommend renting or streaming before purchasing, this may not be a film you'll want to watch more than once.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and sexuality, including rape. (no nudity)

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