‘Megan is Missing’ raises awareness of kidnappings

Controversy created by violent, disturbing images


The horror movie “Megan is Missing” has gained popularity through TikTok. Many videos made in reaction to the film appeared on the social media platform, and they have caused controversies because of their use of violent and disturbing images

The movie first aired in 2011, but in early November last year it began trending because of the reaction videos.

This unrated movie utilized found footage, a technique where the director provides raw footage resulting in a more authentic scene. Directed by Michael Goi,  the movie is based on real cases of kidnappings of young teenage girls meeting strangers online.

The movie focuses on two main characters: Megan Stewart and her best friend, Amy Herman. The two girls often meet people online and chat with strangers, especially boys. Stewart decided to meet a boy she had been chatting with online and soon disappeared afterward. 

As Stewart’s best friend, Herman decided to investigate the disappearance and also met up with the boy. She then discovered the horrifying truth of where Stewart had gone, but it was too late, resulting in another kidnapping

At the end, viewers hear Herman screaming for help and crying, but the kidnapper still proceeded to hurt her and did not let her go. The footage then ends with the kidnapper showing Herman her friend Stewart — dead inside a barrel with blood on her body. 

This barrel scene was mentioned a lot in discussions about the movie. Without including any warnings, the film shocked many viewers with the graphic image and caused fears among the audience. 

“When I first saw the barrel scene, I did not expect something so frightening,” Monte Vista High School  junior Helena Sun said. “You can hear the girl screaming and it was so hard to watch. I think there should be more warning for the audience.”

The visual scenes and realistic elements of the movie have some teenagers debating the problem of the dangers of meeting strangers online. 

“I know several online friends from social media that I have never met before,” Sun said. “After watching this movie, it made me double think and consider more about meeting them in real life. I used to think events like this only happens in movies, but after finding out the movie was based on real cases, it has begun to seem more realistic to me,” Sun said.

“Watching the movie has made me more aware of the problem of abductions and has made me more alert and worried,” Sun continued. “It left me disturbed, unsettled and I even had trouble sleeping because I kept rethinking of the scenes in the movie.”

“In my opinion, even though this movie was very scary for me and the graphics made me very disturbed, it still taught me a lot more on this serious issue,” Sun said. “I will definitely be more careful now after watching this movie.”    

This article originally appeared in The Stampede, the student newspaper of Monte Vista High School in Danville.