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We Are The Missing

****
2020

‘pushes the found-footage genre of Blair Witch in a different, more apocalyptic direction…’

The horror genre is in need of a bit of a reboot right now; a lack of fresh ideas has become something of a grind. So We Are The Missing is worth a recommend for genre fans; made for a pittance, writer/director Andrew J.D. Robinson’s debut feature may be short of staples like gore, demons or Peter Cushing, but it pushes the found-footage genre of Blair Witch in a different, more apocalyptic direction which feels right in today’s pandemic times.

We Are The Missing looks and feels like the kind of documentary you might actually find on YouTube; a series of talking heads, location shots, describing a personal tragedy. Concerned parents talk about their agony about the disappearance of their 22 year old daughter Riley (Chantel Little); the first twist comes as we find out that after filming their interviews, the parents went missing too. It becomes clear that something sinister is going on in the small town of D’Arcadia, a spider-web of strange events that leads to a state of social alienation. People are afraid to leave their houses, they begin to fear and suspect those around them, and meanwhile ordinary citizens are falling through the cracks.

This is a cerebral horror film that’s big on subtext as well as text. Robinson takes the kind of found-material approach of last year’s Searching, presenting the story largely through a video edit of interview clips, with an investigating editor putting the clues together. We listen to terrified phone calls, psychological explanations, and a key history lesson looks back to 1518 and the dancing plague that demonstrated how mass hysteria could lead to deadly results; there’s a touch of Chuck Palahnuik’s scary novel Lullaby here. All these elements are well-handled, with We Are The Missing constantly going off in unexpected directions that keep the viewer engaged.

We Are The Missing generated significant traction as a free movie on YouTube, and makes a neat alternative to the usual horror fare; there’s even a funny riff on horror-film titles that should amuse fans. While the acting can be variable at times, and the low-production values may put some potential viewers off, this is a diamond in the rough, a lo-fi montage that manages to generate unease while triggering thoughts about larger issues. Are we the missing? Are we already the victims of a larger conspiracy? In fall 2020, these are genuine questions that people ask, and society’s anxieties can be easily tapped into, making Robinson’s effective chiller relevant to today’s current mood, which is, as we cower in our homes and our connections to each other weaken, extremely dark.

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    • It’s a mix. I generally watch 2 a day and don’t always write them up. Publicists and film-makers are both valued suppliers of movies, and these ones often have specific publication dates attached. I mix in whatever I’m watching for fun, and other titles which might have relevance to something that’s going on in the world. In essence, I’m always looking for something good, and something I’m in the right mood to see. Thanks for asking!

        • I think you’re cool too! Yes, on the press list, and went to most festivals, or at least online versions of them. Could see 7 or 8 a day at weekends, but I doubt that kind of viewing will be back anytime soon. Still nice to have press shows for Tenet and Unhinged, and still hope to be a regular cinemagoer…

  1. Well….for me this most certainly isn’t a nope! In fact I think I will watch this one in the weekend. I love movies in the found footage genre, and this most certainly sounds like my kind of film. And it being free on youtube is an even better bonus! Thanks for sharing this one, I will let you know what I think of this when I’ve seen it. With a bit of luck that will be this weekend😊

    • That’s a good point. Mockumentry seems to now mean faux-documentary, rather than parody. There are some comic moments, but the intend is serious and the atmosphere is quite doomy. So dodn’t expect Spinal Tap!

  2. I haven’t watched the Blair Witch project, just seen a couple of spoofs on the whole cheapo cam movie production thing.
    What is it about being scared that people like? I really don’t understand.

      • I am trying to understand this “fear” though. For example, yesterday, I put “light” mayonaise on my sandwich. From what I understand, this “should” have left me quivering in abject fear. Everyone I talk to about light mayo simply shudders in what I assume is fear.

        maybe I’m just the hero the world deserves, not the hero it needs
        😉

        • You’re MY hero…to openly talk about such heroics takes nerves of steel. I use light and full fat mayo interchangably, but it jangles my nerves terribly. All hail Lord Bookstooge!

            • Interchangably meaning one OR the other, the sorcery of mixing condiments is a dark art that even I shy away from…

              • Ahhh, that explains it. I thought you used BOTH at the SAME TIME and I began to understand this fear thing, just a little.

                This has been a most enlightening movie review. I feel like I’ve learned a lot.

                    • I feel the same about your blog, I spend hours researching my comments and reading the books in question just to enter into the most high-brow of intellectual discourse.

                    • Great! That is exactly what I am hoping to inspire in those who follow my blog. NOW I feel like I have succeeded.

                      Sometimes I wonder if you and I are like the spiritual blog successors of people like Einstein, Newton, Galileo, etc. Wouldn’t surprise me if one day we do get statues dedicated to us.

                    • I’m working on a statue of you made out of light mayo. And yes, it’s surely our duty to set a good example, and demonstrate the power of the mind. Others can learn from us, the Dickens and Thackery of our day…

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