Is Missing based on a true story?

Daisy Phillipson
Storm Reid in Missing posted

The plot for Missing might seem like it was pulled straight out of a crime documentary, but is it actually based on a true story?

Missing is a recent mystery-thriller movie that just made its Netflix debut, starring Storm Reid as a teenager who is sent down a chaotic online rabbit hole after her mom goes missing while on holiday with her new boyfriend.

Directed by Nicholas D. Johnson and Will Merrick, the film is a spiritual sequel to the 2018 hit Searching. Though the two have separate storylines and characters, they deal with the same themes and are both set entirely on computer screens. 

With Missing now available to stream on Netflix, fans might be wondering: is Missing based on a true story? Read on to find out. 

Is Missing based on a true story?

No, while there have been similar “stranger than fiction” cases like the one portrayed in Missing, the movie is not based on a true story. 

The same can be said for its predecessor, Searching, which is also a fictional film. The original was directed by Aneesh Chaganty, who co-wrote the script alongside Sev Ohanian, while Missing’s director duo Nicholas D. Johnson and Will Merrick served as editors.

Chaganty and Ohanian created the story for Missing, which flips Searching’s narrative of a dad trying to find his teenage daughter to focus on a teenage girl looking for her mom. 

Speaking to Forbes about the decision to hand the project over, Ohanian said, “In 2019, when we got the call from Sony to make the sequel, Aneesh and I were busy with other projects. 

“We had read a spec script that Will and Nick wrote for Paramount and knew they were great writers. So we wrote a 29-page treatment for Missing from beginning to end, with all of the major beats, character arcs, and twists, and gave it to them to support their screenwriting and directorial debuts, while we remained producers.”

Although Missing isn’t a true story, it certainly features scenes inspired by the digital era we’re living in, most notably the online reaction to the news that June’s mom Grace is missing and all of the details that emerge once the case hits the headlines. 

June is tasked with uncovering the mystery by herself, with the aid of a couple of friends, due to the red tape she faces with international officials. The situation is made all the more difficult by the countless Reddit discussions, tabloid exposés, and network voicemails hounding June for her side of the story. 

We’ve seen this play out time and again with any missing person or murder case that makes international news, which more often than not kickstarts the internet sleuth mill into action. 

Another reason the story might feel so familiar is that it’s a screenlife movie, meaning it’s set on a computer screen, with those instantly recognizable notification sounds for WhatsApp, messaging, and social media playing throughout. 

In a conversation with Screen Rant, Reid opened up about the challenges of this format, stating, “It was very challenging. I had never filmed something where it’s all taking place on the computer, so [there’s] different eye lines and making sure all the technical aspects were correct.

“It was a bit hard, especially with the emotions we went through in the movie. The emotions are heightened, so having to intersect both of those was a little challenging. But once I got the hang of it, it was so much fun.”

Missing is available to stream on Netflix now. You can check out our other Netflix hubs below:

The Night Agent Season 2 | The Gentlemen | Will there be Firefly Lane Season 3? | Sex Education Season 4 | Beef Season 2 | Monster Season 2 | Will there be Ginny and Georgia Season 3? | Black Mirror Season 6 | All the Light We Cannot See | Stranger Things Season 5 | The Witcher Season 3 | Chicken Run 2 | Heartstopper Season 2 | FUBAR | Florida Man Season 2 | Obsession Season 2 | The Sandman Season 2

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