There is no denying that the popular video app TikTok has taken the world by storm. Almost every Gen Z that owns a smart phone probably has the app downloaded and use it frequently. From the way the app is formatted, certain messages can spread really, really fast. And that includes movie and show recommendations.
One of these recent movie recommendations that has taken over TikTok is a low budget independent thriller called Meghan is Missing. This film was made in the style where all of the scenes are “found footage” and consist of video chat calls, media reports, and other digital recordings. The film was directed, written, and edited all by Michael Goi, and although was made in 2007, it wasn’t distributed until 2011 when Anchor Bay Films picked it up.
The film centers around a 14-year-old girl named Meghan Stewart, a popular teenager and honor student and the days leading up to her inevitable disappearance. The film starts on January 2, 2007 and the footage continues until February 6, 2007.
In the days before her disappearance, Megan starts talking to a guy online through video chat named “Josh” who she is flirting with. The audience never sees what Josh looks like when Megan and her best friend Amy to talk because he makes the claim that is webcam is “broken”. The film is directed to be a warning to minors to watch out for internet predators.
Around mid-November, the film started getting more attention on TikTok where many users shared their own thoughts and experiences watching it. Many people talked about being disturbed, traumatized, and anxious. Despite the film’s budget of less than $35,000, it still paints a raw and accurate depiction of child abduction. But not before doing this, the script is filled to the brim with raunchy and uncomfortably sexual dialogue for 14-year-old actors.
The movie starts with two best friends named Megan Stewart and Amy Herman. Megan is known to be a charismatic and popular girl, but comes from a broken family. On the other hand, Amy is known to be a social outcast and weird to most people except for Meghan. The two opposites attract as friends because they are able to provide what the other cannot have; Amy gives Megan emotional support and Megan gives Amy social acceptance.
Throughout the movie, it is clear Megan is more open with being sexually active, and tells Amy about some of her experiences with men. These stories are disturbing and sad, since they involve her with older boys at an inappropriate age. In one point of the movie, Megan discusses her sexual abusive experiences with her step father. While in another scene, Megan tells Amy about the time when she was 10-years-old and gave a 17-year-old a blow job at a summer camp.
Later on in the movie, one of Megan’s friends introduces her to a guy named Josh (who claims his webcam is broken so the audience only hears his voice). On January 14, 2007, Megan went missing after agreeing to meet up with Josh in person for the first time behind a local diner.
After Amy didn’t hear from Megan for several days, she immediately became suspicious of Josh. And once Josh caught on to Amy’s skepticism, he abducted her as well and recorded the entire crime. The last 22 minutes of the film is the final recording taken on Amy’s video camera where Josh locks Amy in a dungeon, tortures her, feeds her food from a dog bowl, and aggressively rapes her.
And somehow, it doesn’t end there.
As if Amy and the audience hasn’t been through enough, Josh then forces Amy into barrel containing what was once Megan’s body now decomposing. Josh locks the barrel shut with Amy inside it, takes her to an unknown forest, and buries her alive there with Megan’s corpse.
Goi’s objective with this film was to make a low budget, but educational film for minors warning them about internet predators. But instead, the bad writing and poor editing makes the tone of this found footage film feel that much more raw and breathtakingly scary. Rather than educating the audience, it disturbs and traumatizes them with the multiple graphic scenes.
What’s Wrong With “Meghan is Missing”?
As previously mentioned, the main staff member running the show was Michael Goi, and that includes him writing the entire film himself. But because almost all of the characters in this film are supposed to be young teenagers, Goi’s writing is the epitome of a middle aged man trying to understand teenage culture.
When the movie isn’t terrifying the viewers, they are bored to sleep with the un-relatable teenager dialogue. Every line Megan says in the first half of the movie is a cliche and catty remark of any typical popular girl in a movie. On the other hand, every scene where Amy talks to herself sounds like something straight from a young girl’s private diary.
When the film isn’t being terrifying, it’s merely laughable and only sucks the audience into the plot enough so they can later laugh at it.
What makes the movie stick with viewers the most is the few overly graphic images that pop up unannounced from time to time. Towards the end of the movie, there’s a scene where a caption says:
On March 4, 2007, two photos of a girl later identified to be Meghan Stewart were posted on a fetish website bulletin board. The owner of the website contacted the FBI because of the disturbing nature of the photos.
And without any warning in the editing, both photos of Meghan popped up being tortured and they give anyone with a conscious chills down their spine. While this movie is a thriller, the photos that were put in this film of the 14-year-old actress looked like pictures from a forum on the dark web.
Since this found footage movie only consists of video calls and camera recordings, the tone of the entire movies feels much more authentic in the worst way possible.
The last 22 minutes of the movie look like something an actual registered sex offender and murderer would make. The images scattered throughout the movie are low quality and not overly edited, making them look like pictures taken in your own small town. The low production quality captures exactly what Goi artistically wanted in the worst way possible by making his audience the witness of what looks to be a traumatizing crime.
Unfortunately, this seems to be another flop of a movie that somehow found its way to the realm of TikTok. While we still don’t understand why this started to gain attention there, it is easy to see after watching the movie why the conversations haven’t stopped. I have yet to see a movie before Meghan is Missing that is equally as poor quality and unsettling at the same time.
Before this film was discovered on TikTok, it was nothing but an unforgettable film that floated around the internet in some less seen corners of the internet. And honestly, it should’ve stayed that way.
Do not follow every TikTok trend you see, all this movie does is trigger and or traumatize anyone that has been through a sexual assault experience.