We Are the Missing
we are the missing | andrew j.d. robinson | maissa houri | mark templin | willow mcgregor | found footage | found-footage | ghost | ghosts | haunted | demon | demons | mockumentary | drama | mystery | thriller | canada | eleonora poutilova | chantel little | gabrielle banville
Film: We Are the Missing
Director: Andrew J.D. Robinson
Writer: Andrew J.D. Robinson
Starring: Maissa Houri, Mark Templin and Willow Mcgregor
This was a film that the writer/director Andrew J.D. Robinson sent me a link the weekend before it came out. I was unable to watch it due to prior commitments, but I decided since this is his feature film debut, I would make it a Featured Review on my podcast, Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast. Other than that, I came in pretty blind aside from seeing a lot his shorts for the last couple years and enjoying the work there. The synopsis is a mockumentary following the Madisons’ desperate search for their missing daughter.
As the synopsis states, we have Carter (Eleonora Poutilova) who is a making documentary about the disappearance of Riley Madison (Chantel Little). We get to hear Carter’s voice throughout as she interviews Riley’s parents of Angie (Maissa Houri) and John (Mark Templin). There is an interesting dynamic here that I picked up on from the beginning. We learn that the two of them are divorced and this has ripple effects to their family.
The first vibe I got was that sometimes, parents don’t really know their children as well as they like to think they do. Riley is missing and her parents at first try not to panic, but as things progress, they eventually did. The documentary then extends to Mackenzie Porter (Willow Mcgregor) who was Riley’s best friend as well as her elementary school teacher Phoebe Taylor (Katherine Stella Duncan). It is here that we learn about an imaginary friend named Mikey. Riley’s parents were torn on how to deal with it, but the more we learn the creepier that becomes.
This documentary takes a turn though when Angie and John end up going missing. Mackenzie tries to help Carter find out where they went, but the state she finds the house chills her to the bone. This leads Carter to more discoveries including a bunch of similar people with loved ones going missing.
Through this investigation, Mackenzie goes to stay with her sister April (Gabrielle Banville). Carter continues to search for whom or what could be behind this and the answer could be much more terrifying than even a normal disappearance.
That’s where I want to leave my recap as I don’t feel this movie necessarily needs a spoiler section for it and I want people to see where things go from here. Where I left that off should be roughly about halfway through the movie. As a story guy, I do like how things are presented to us. I did see someone saying this movie gave off Lake Mungo vibes and I think that is accurate. We have parents that are distraught and sad over not knowing what happened to their daughter. They want answers. It is terrifying though that people go missing everyday without a trace. I think that helped the feel of the movie is basing it in part in realism.
Another reason that I’m not going to do a spoiler section is that the movie doesn’t over-explain. I will warn you that there are questions that are left unanswered, but I think this is more in-line what you’d get from cosmic horror. Wouldn’t necessarily say this is Lovecraftian, but in the same vein as he rarely or authors in the sub-genre since, don’t need to give you everything. To be honest, it is a bit scarier to not know.
If there is one thing that I want to give credit to Robinson for here, it is the feel of the movie. I’ll be honest, this just gives off eerie vibes and I felt anxious from the point where I left my recap. The more people that they introduce and you see the anguish of some of them for missing their loved ones. I kind of put myself in their shoes. Some of the recordings we hear are chilling to the point where I felt uncomfortable, which I dug. It would probably be in part to the soundtrack selections as well to help build up that eerie vibe without being overpowering.
Shifting this over to the acting, I don’t think anyone is great. I’m forgiving of that though going the found-footage/mockumentary angle. It makes it feel more realistic. I do wish that Houri as the mother gave a bit more emotion, but I thought she was still solid. The more I’ve sat on it, I could see someone who is drained come off as she does. Templin was good as the father and Mcgregor as well as the best friend. I don’t necessarily feel as much emotion as I wanted from Olivia Piercey who is Paige, a sister to Riley that wasn’t revealed until later. I did like Amy Bickle (Rebekah Naomi Ayala) and Olivia Perkins (Chantel Grace) with the videos that are added on later and where it takes the story.
Really the last thing that I wanted to go over for this review would be the editing. There are things that are introduced early and throughout this movie that get brought back up later. I’m a sucker for that. I do feel that there are a couple of times where we got some filler though where too much of some of the videos are shown of those that are missing someone. The editing is great though in having them flow together as if that is how they were supposed to be. There’s even a cool scene of Angie and Olivia that is edited together showing similar parts of information in their stories. I just think they do tend to go a bit long for me.
Now with that said, I’ve been watching a lot of Robinson’s shorts and I have to say, I thought he did a great job with this feature debut. It has an interesting story that is grounded in reality with subject matter and going mockumentary, but then mixing in a bit of the supernatural. There is a feeling of dread that builds through this movie that I really liked. The acting I thought works for giving that amateur feel and my slight issues are very minor. The soundtrack coupled with this really worked for me in building up that vibe. There are a few scenes that do feel like filler that could be trimmed, but I never got bored. I would say that I have just a fit nitpicks, but nothing that ruins the movie. My rating here would be above average after this first viewing.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Watch We Are the Missing: Link