Is the 2023 film Missing the sequel to Searching?

By Miguel Fernández
Published: January 23, 2023 (Last updated: January 1, 2024)
Is Missing a sequel to Searching

Is the 2023 film Missing the sequel to Searching? We discuss the popular cinema release and where it sits in  Searching Universe.

Missing is the first feature film by directors Nicholas D. Johnson, and Will Merrick, who have previously worked as editors on multiple projects, including the 2018 surprise hit Searching, starring John Cho. Aneesh Chaganty, who co-wrote and directed the latter, gets a “story by” credit on the new film, along with his co-writer Sev Ohanian.

Having a similar team behind both films, and similar-sounding titles, are not the only links between both films. Much like Searching, Missing is also told entirely through screens. The main character, played by Storm Reid, launches an investigation into her missing mom from her multiple devices, similar to how Searching featured John Cho looking for his daughter by endlessly scrolling through their computers, phones, and tablets. Seeing how Missing uses a similar language to Searching to tell its story may have some people wondering whether or not both movies are related.

Is the 2023 film Missing the sequel to Searching?

What is the film Missing about?

In Missing, Storm Reid plays June, an 18-year-old haunted by the trauma of the loss of his father to cancer, and the daughter of a woman named Grace who is trying to move on with her life by finding herself a new boyfriend (Ken Leung). The two go on vacation to Colombia, and June takes the opportunity to launch a party at the house. But when her mother doesn’t show up at the airport when June goes to pick her up, she starts to worry something might have happened and takes to the Internet to find any hint of what might have gone down.

The simplicity of the plot is then stretched to unthinkable limits by the format that the filmmakers used to tell the story. As opposed to the traditional approach to shooting, Missing is narrated entirely through screens. We see Storm Reid through FaceTime calls or recorded by cameras on her multiple devices, and we hear her voice when the mic is on, or when she is making phone calls.

Is Missing a sequel to Searching?

No, Missing is not a sequel to Searching, despite the similarities between both films, and is seen as a “standalone sequel.” However, Missing was written and directed by the two editors of Searching, and the co-writers from the 2018 film also received “story by” credits on the new feature. Both stories are also quite similar to a person launching an online, low-resource investigation to locate their missing relative, with whom they might have felt a slight disconnect right before their disappearance.

Despite feeling paid by numbers, both movies have been critically acclaimed because of the tight scripts and smart editing choices that keep the viewers hooked and constantly guessing what is going to happen next. Our own review called Missing “the type of old-fashioned thriller that trades star power for a good story that audiences are clamoring for.”

What is the plot for Searching?

Searching, directed by Aneesh Chaganty, featured John Cho as a desperate father looking for her recently-disappeared teenage daughter. Much like Missing, he starts by looking through her devices and contacting friends, and it’s also full of twists and turns that kept audiences on the edge of their seats throughout its entire runtime. It’s also told entirely through screen recordings, an absolute feat from a technical point of view, especially from an editing perspective.

John Cho’s David is also suffering from the recent loss of his wife and can’t bear the thought of losing her daughter too. While Missing had an international element to it that made the police’s cooperation difficult at first, Searching did include an official investigation on the sidelines. It made $75 million worldwide back in late 2018.

Have you seen the 2023 movie Missing? If not, are you looking forward to it? Did you enjoy Searching? Let us know in the comments!

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