The scariest horror movie that came out in 2011? Ask any TikToker, and they will likely tell you that it's Megan Is Missing, a found footage drama-thriller that tells the story of Megan Stewart, a 14-year-old who vanishes under mysterious circumstances following her date with a predator who claims to be a 17-year-old skateboarder online.
Many would like to know: is Megan Is Missing real? Is the film based on a true story?
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'Megan Is Missing' alludes to past child abduction cases — but it is not based on a true story.
The use of found footage makes the movie feel all the more realistic. Fortunately for viewers, however, the main characters are played by actors, and the film doesn't chart Megan's abduction in real-time. However, the cinematography — which is characterised by bad framing and sketchy, amateurish camera movements — helps create the illusion that the film is true-to-life.
4Megan Is Missing has become a TikTok crazeCredit: YouTube
Is Megan Is Missing real?
Megan Is Missing is hauntingly similar to real-life child abduction cases - but it is not based on a true story.
The use of "found footage" makes the movie feel realistic.
Fortunately, the characters are played by actors, and the film doesn't follow Megan's abduction in real-time.
However, the way the movie has been made, creates an illusion that the film is true-to-life.
4Fans feared Megan Is Missing is a real storyCredit: YouTube
What is the 'photo number 1' warning?
After the film started going viral on TikTok, the director of the movie took the unusual step of issuing a message, where he explained about the "photo number 1 warning".
Posting his own video on TikTok, Michael Goi said: "I didn't get to give you the customary warnings that I used to give people before they watched Megan Is Missing.
"They are: do not watch the movie in the middle of the night, do not watch the movie alone, and if you see the words 'Photo Number 1' pop up on your screen, you have about four seconds to shut off the movie, if you're already freaking out before you start seeing things that maybe you don't want to see."
4Megan Is Missing follows a teenager who disappears under mysterious circumstancesCredit: YouTube
What is Megan Is Missing about?
Megan Is Missing tells the story of Megan Stewart, a 14 year old who vanishes.
She disappears under mysterious circumstances following her date with a predator who claims online to be a 17-year-old skateboarder.
The film is available to rent on Google Play - but make sure you take into account the above warning from the director before watching it.
4Megan Is Missing has been slammed for the over-sexualisation of young teenagersCredit: YouTube
Why is Megan Is Missing so controversial?
Although filmed in 2006, the film did not find distribution until Anchor Bay Films gave it a limited cinema release in 2011.
Marketed as an educational film, Megan Is Missing was banned in New Zealand upon its release.
The film has been heavily criticised for its exploitative nature, poor acting, graphic violence inflicted upon the child protagonists, and over-sexualisation of young teenagers.
Director Goi wrote the script in 10 days and shot the film over the course of a week.
Because of the graphic content, he requested that the parents of the young cast be on set during filming so that they were fully aware of their children's involvement in the project
Are the last 22 minutes of Megan Is Missing real footage?
The trend got so big that Megan is Missing director Michael Goi made his own TikTok, explaining that while the footage in the film is not “real” he had forensic investigators working as technical advisors to help him make it as real as possible.
Does the movie Megan Is Missing have real footage?
According to its promotional materials, Megan Is Missing is “assembled from video chats, webcam footage, home videos and news reports,” but while the film was based on a series of real life cases of child abduction, the footage in the film is all scripted and shot using actors.