The movie “Searching” by Aneesh, it could happen to you

Sydney Lee, Staff Editor

Similar to other students, when Christmas break comes around it is a way to catch up on sleep, family time, friend time, and to catch up on movies that you have been dying to see, but sadly have not had the time to watch. For me, the movie I finally had the privilege to watch was “Searching” by Aneesh Chaganty. The reason why this movie stuck with after break and caught my attention to write about is due to the realistic nature of the movie, as well as it comments on how society is unsafely built around social media.

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In the movie, a father’s daughter, Margo goes missing. At first, they think she ran away, but later they come to the conclusion that she was abducted. This single father was forced to be tough for both him and his daughter because of the recent tragic event, the mother’s death. The mother’s death not only brought depression between the family, but it also separated the father and daughter, since he would not speak to his daughter about her death.

Luckily, since the father is reluctant to let his daughter die along side with his wife, he goes to all ends to get her back. This particular movie is different from other realistic horror thriller movies due to the fact that the set up of the camera was through the computer. For instance, our point of view was through a computer, therefore we could only see characters and what happened if they themselves were on the computer face timing someone, texting, or calling. As the movie progressed, the viewers could see what the father was clicking on his computer. This created suspense because since the audience could only see what was happening when the father was on the computer, it lead to the audience not knowing what happened between takes offline. Not only did this add suspense, but it also created a sense of reality for the audience. Part of the reason of why this movie was such an unexpected hit at the box office is because it scared all families in the most realistic way possible. What do you do when you get home or when you wake up in the morning? Most people would say that they go on their phone. Whether it is to post a photo, like a photo, or text someone you care about, you leave a trace of what you have done, where you have gone, and who you have been in contact with. Because as a society we are constantly online, the fact that the movie was shown through a computer was very relatable. Things the daughter did online and the father later searched was something we have done. Teenagers go online so much, to the extent where the father could single handedly solve her mysterious abduction just by going on her computer to see what she has posted, the money she withdrew, who she has texted, who she has called, and most importantly her daily vlog live streams online. A father losing their daughter is their worst fear and a child being abducted is their worst fear. The most scary part about the movie as a whole was that someone could easily be abducted by what they post online and someone can track them down if they have motivation and a computer. Luckily, it was the Dad who used technology to find out where his daughter was hidden, but the fact still remains that the common man who is not trained as a detective can find someone just by going through their contacts and computer.

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In my opinion, I was on the edge of my seat throughout the whole movie because most of the things Margo posted online and did are things I have done on social media. This movie brought awareness that even though I am careful for the most part, people can still find where I go on the weekends, track me down when I am alone, and no one would ever know who took me. This movie was way to relatable for my liking because this scenario could of easily happened to me. Hopefully, I would have a father who would track me down, but teenagers should not get to that point in the first place. The point of the movie and this article is not to scare teenagers into deleting all things on technology, but the point is to make all teenagers more safe by avoiding certain things. For instance, texting is safe, but if a random person texts you or continues to call you, block them. The same goes for instagram dm’s or snapchats. If you get a message from someone with a trusting profile, that does not necessarily mean that the person is trustworthy. Only trust people you have met and seen before in person. Anyone can learn to talk like a teenage boy and girl and search cute pictures of random people online. In my case, my instagram and all snapchats for everyone are private, therefore it would make sense that the people I come into contact with are trustworthy. However, I will admit that I accept and answer back to people that my friends follow or people I have heard about. This is a little less safe, due to the fact that your friends may have fallen into the same trap as you. Just because your friends follow them does not mean that they have an honest, valid profile. Everyone thinks in their head that they will never be the victim. I will never get cancer if I do this. I will never get taken because of what I do online. For the most part, all teenagers are aware of the dangers of being online, but we have never experienced our own online horror story like margo, therefore we feel that it will never happen to us. The sad part is that every kid that has this mind set are the same kids that get abducted because they are the most vulnerable. If you are safe with your social media use then you will most likely be safe, but if you do any of the things in the movie or some of the things I listed above, then you are borderline unsafe all of the time. Many of my friends have done things Margot have done and it shocking that they have not affected by their lack of awareness of how public they are being to society.

Besides being aware of your social media use, my next concern was that the movie addresses a child not being involved with their parents. Margo’s dad had to find out about who his daughter really is and the truth of where she has been in the matter of a week. During this intense week, he was surprised and upset because he thought he knew who his daughter was, but in reality, he pictured her wrong the whole time. For instance, he thought his daughter was going with her friends every week to a study group. Instead, she would be alone at the lake where her late mother would go. She would tell her dad she had friends and that she was with them and he believed her as most parents would. My goal is to not scare parents into believing that their kids are lying about where they are going, but if your child is more closed off, it is important to make sure that they have friends and an honest social life. This is not only good for their safety for when they leave, but it is also good for them to let loose and have fun with friends that make them feel good. Due to texts by his daughter, he assumed that she was social, fun, and happy. She was severely depressed before she was kidnapped because no one would talk to her about her mother’s death and after a death in her family she could not connect with people. Her lack of communication of feelings with her father who would barely spend time with her and ask her the important questions of how she is, lead her to be closed off and create a fake identity with her father. This all became clear to her father when she was put in danger and he was put to the test to see if he really knew his daughter and where she was. Kids will lie and say that they are okay because they do not want to bring attention to their issues or worry their parents. But I urge kids everywhere to turn to their parents, teachers, trustable classmates if they are unhappy. I also urge parents to not be too involved in their kid’s lives, but enough to make sure they are happy and safe.

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Luckily, the story ended well with a surprising twist and many lessons learned. Margo was safe and learned to communicate with her father and less with the internet. On the other hand, the father learned to ask the tough questions even after the mom’s death. She ended up having a great social life and a second chance at life with a new happy outlook on life. This movie is available to buy and rent.  If you are interested in watching this movie, the trailer that will keep you at the edge of your seat is embedded at the top of this article. 

I would recommend both because not only is it suspenseful because of it is a thriller, but it also teaches messages that are more relatable to parent’s and their kids that could be in danger because of their ability to trust the world by sending all of their information out and their inability to come to their parent’s with issues, rather than random strangers online.