By Jerome Reuter
Found footage: it’s everywhere. At this point in time, it’s dominating the horror landscape, and there seems to be no end in sight. So many of these works are so predictable, that it’s not even worth taking the time to examine them. Once in awhile, you get one that’s actually decent, but these are few and far between.
Which brings me to Megan Is Missing, released in 2011. This is a film that isn’t predictable, nor is it worthwhile. This is a hateful, misogynistic piece of trash. I wish I could say there are at some redeeming qualities here. However, there’s none to be found.
Our story is focused on the disappearance of a popular teenage girl named Megan. The events in the films first act is paced so slowly, and presented in such a hateful way; you’ll want to give up 30 minutes in. With social media now a dominating force in the world, this film attempts to use it to guide the narrative. While watching everything unfold, you’ll instantly remember how much you hated high school. The bulk is told through webcams and found footage, presented as a video diary. We’re allowed to see the environment in which our main characters exist in, and the other people they interact with on a daily basis. These teenagers are so hateful and unlikeable; you’ll wish this would turn into a slasher flick. Seeing these misogynistic cretins cut to pieces would instantly make this one a little bit more entertaining. They’re every stereotype you can imagine; shallow, sexist, and hormone crazed.
Megan is the popular girl who everyone likes, who gets invited to every party, and seems to have a perfect life. Her best friend Amy is her direct opposite. She’s unpopular, not particularly liked by the other students, awkward, and someone we can easily empathize with. Megan disappears after a rendezvous with someone she meets in an Internet chat room. It’s really easy to see what the director was trying to do, establish a cautionary tale of the dangers we might encounter in the digital age. We never see the person she’s chatting with; we only hear his voice. Keeping this off screen does build a light feeling of mystery, but it’s overshadowed by the events that follow. Amy eventually goes missing as well, by the same mysterious stalker. Not after being blamed by the local in crowd for Megan’s abduction.
We’re treated to a series of news reports about Megan’s abduction. In some ways, this is almost an attempt at commentary on how events like this are portrayed in the media. So much attention is placed on how well liked Megan was, and how her disappearance has affected so many people. When Amy goes missing, very little attention is given to the events in question, only her parents are shown be distraught.
The films third and final act is where things go from poorly written, to complete garbage. We finally find out what’s happened with Megan, as depicted in two still shots. Not only do these images repulse, they’re absolutely vile to look at. The films last 22 minutes reveal the fate of Amy, and this is not for the faint of heart, or anyone with conscience for that matter. The location for this debauchery is a bizarre underground dungeon, we see Amy in a vile state of captivity. She’s subjugated to cruel humiliation, (i.e. being forced to eat food like dog) and a vile scene of sexual assault.
In a scene that attempts to recreate the same harsh tone from Irreversible; the camera is left in position, for a solid 3 minutes. The very fact that this character is supposed be no older than 14, shows how despicable and depraved this film really is. This whole sequence is so misogynistic, that it renders this film complete trash. At this moment, this film doesn’t even become exploitation; it becomes complete and utter filth. The final scene shocks the viewer, as we’re forced to watch our protagonist being buried alive, and plead for her life for several minutes.
This film deserves no recognition at all. This is a vile work, that isn’t worth the time. Speaking as someone who’s sat though some of the harshest exploitation films ever made, I have nothing good to say about this one. You can have all the attempts at social commentary in the world; it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is one of the worst films I’ve ever seen.