"Missing" is an interesting film because of the way it's filmed, writes Gracie Brogowski. It's a screenlife movie, so most of the film is shot through the perspective of another screen.

Sony has combined today’s technology with the concept of mystery for a new, thrilling experience.

When June (Storm Reid) finds out her mom has gone missing while in Colombia, she reaches out to the authorities to help her. While they continue searching, she discovers many secrets about her mom that she wasn’t expecting.

This thriller mystery is a uniquely shot film because it’s a screenlife movie. Instead of having a camera crew and the other typical filming equipment following June, the whole movie is shot like a computer screen recording. This is a new form of filming and is used in other web-based movies like “Unfriended.” The concept sounded like a complicated technique to use, but the producers did a great job with the idea. For example, the only way viewers can see the characters is through FaceTime, or if they record something on a smartphone. Not only does this modernize the film, but the viewers get to watch it in a point-of-view format that makes the movie feel more interactive. It’s also a unique take on a mystery movie because it shows viewers every detail that happens in the investigation.

“Missing” is a sequel to the 2018 film “Searching,” but it doesn’t seem like a sequel. The film makes a brief nod to the first, so it’s not really necessary to see “Searching” before “Missing.” The two are parallel throughout, such as some similar plot points and the same filming technique.

However, there were some differences as well. June uses similar websites to what’s in the first movie, but “Missing” involves other countries, so it adds newer searching skills like Google Translate. The producers add some new forms of video recording as well, like a smartwatch, which kept the movie close to today’s popular technology. The producers also branch out and use social media in a more interactive form. While June’s mom is away, she lets loose and parties. To show this, the producers shot these scenes as if they were for an Instagram post, a TikTok, livestreams or a Snapchat story. This added a variety of perspectives and was an inventive way to portray the idea of pre-college partying.

Another difference is the amount of thrill that’s portrayed in this movie. Although this is a technology-based movie, there are some intense elements that were unexpected involving violence, which was an interesting idea. This also might give viewers more internal anxiety that comes with watching a thriller, more so than in “Searching.” “Missing” was also led by a different director, so he still stayed with the concept of keeping it on a laptop, but he added original ideas to bring some cleverness into the movie.

Reid does a great job of playing June. She brings a rollercoaster of emotions needed for her role perfectly. Viewers can empathize with and cheer for her when needed, and Reid’s excellent at balancing the personalities of a concerned daughter and detective. She’s also a clever-minded person with how she uses the internet to discover new clues to find her mother. It portrays how Gen Z has advanced in technological knowledge and how technology has evolved too.

An aspect that was really enjoyable was how there were so many twists. The writers were clever with adding surprises here and there that the audience wouldn’t connect, so it kept viewers on the edge of their seat questioning things for practically the whole film. They didn’t miss a beat and it was like they added a plot twist at any moment they could find. While the first one also had this element, it felt more frequent in “Missing” than in “Searching.” It’s one of those productions where every little detail plays a major role in June’s investigation, which is what a good mystery film needs.

While it’s a good film, it isn’t one that could be considered award-nomination worthy or a production that’s going to be legendary. “Missing” does have some components that some people might not be fond of that adds a little darkness to the story like violence.

“Missing” is a film that maintains its thrill and mystery throughout. It’s the type of film viewers should see with a mindset of anything being possible. With the amount of twists and surprises embedded throughout, it’s hard to predict anything. For those who enjoy thrillers, want to feel some intensity or love mind-bending stories, this would be a good movie to see.

Contact Gracie Brogowski at brogowsx@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.