The scariest nightmares are the ones you can wake up to in “We Are The Missing”; a drama/horror pseudo-documentary following The Madisons’ desperate search for their missing daughter.
We Are The Missing is an indie horror film currently available on YouTube. The film premiered on June 15th and has been making waves ever since. Currently surpassing 30k views, We Are The Missing (WATM) is a mockumentary style movie apparently filmed on the shoestring budget of a ridiculous 300 CAD, although I found that kind of hard to believe (I’ll discuss this in a bit…I’ve added the director’s commentary on this at the end of the review). The film stars Chantel Little as Riley, Maissa Houri as Angie, Willow McGregor as Mackenzie, and Mark Templin as John as well as a pantheon of other actors and actresses. The film follows the Madisons and their friends as they search for their missing daughter, Riley. What they discover is that Riley’s disappearance is a lot more sinister than what anyone was initially led to believe.
Firstly, let’s address the style of the film, which is a modern take on the direct cinema documentary approach. Rather than the usual handheld cams, we get a far more stable framing of our scenes, usually through webcams, cell phones, or closeup documentary-style interview shots. The style and stability make it easier to watch than those found-footage style films that are usually a little more popular when it comes to low budget productions. The film watches and feels like a bigger-budget production.
Also, the acting is really good…and I don’t mean just good for an indie film. A 300 CAD budget? Were these people not paid actors? If not, this is the best cast of charity actors ever assembled. Watch the film and fight me if you disagree. You won’t, but I’m totally prepared to throw down. The cast absolutely makes and carries the film.
The score also adds a lot of depth and emotion to what are a lot of good monologues. There’s a lot of talking to cameras—many shots and powerful clips that probably wouldn’t have had as much impact if not accompanied by a pretty tight score that isn’t afraid to be really noticeable. It was nothing breath-taking or ground-breaking but it did manage to capture the atmosphere and draw you into what I imagine was the director’s intended emotional journey. No standing ovation but definitely a tip of the ol’ hat.
Also, the editing clearly took hours of painstaking love and attention to detail. Most of the film is comprised of strung together interview clips accompanied by self-recordings and the occasional focussed closeup. This film must have been a monster in post-production and it was very cleanly sewn together.
WATM changes tone in the latter half, switching from a mockumentary to something different entirely. Diving onto what that change is exactly, while probably fun, is just going into spoiler territory. While the first half is very drama centred, the latter finally becomes more psychological horror. Don’t expect alien invasions or possessions or whatnot–the happenings are mostly talked about rather than seen directly (think Pontypool 2008).
Now, while what I’ve written may mostly have been positive, I do need to smack a little disclaimer here at the end of the review. I watch a lot of indie films and I am pretty confident when I say that I can separate the wheat from the chaff. Indie productions are often about making the best film you can from an incredibly limited budget. Writer/Director Andrew J.D. Robinson has done what I deem impossible. It’s too good to be a 300 CAD production. That said, there will be many that won’t enjoy WATM simply because you are not getting monsters and mayhem. This is horror through storytelling, not special effects. This is a film shot as a passion project and not one with explosions and car chases. It is not a summer blockbuster but rather the antithesis thereof.
You can watch We Are The Missing via this link here. Give it a try. I was always wary of films that self-publish onto YouTube—I’ve been burned one too many times in the past. This one was a very different beast. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Poster below.
After reaching out to writer/director Andrew J.D. Robinson for comment on the 300 CAD budget, I received this response:
We all volunteered our time and resources, and we’re all non-union. The budget, which was all out of pocket from me, was mostly spent on covering folks’ Uber fare, bus tickets, and catering + I bought a big stapler and grey hair spray for Maissa for 12$.
Also I’m a one-man show where I’m also operating the camera, lighting, sound recording, etc so I don’t have a ‘crew’ to pay or to rely on. I own all of my gear that I’ve accumulated throughout the years. And hehe the film for sure was a monster to edit; this was by far the biggest project I’ve ever edited. I’ve warned other filmmakers who are interested to explore developing pseudo-documentaries that ‘this is an editor’s film’ where you have to love post-production to get a lot of ‘bad versions’ out of your system and is, like you noticed, leans so much on the performances to get as close to ‘authentic’ as possible or else, no matter what you edited, it will all rip from the seams fast; that suspension of disbelief, in this type of movie, is on a tight rope always. I’ve definitely been privileged to work with these performers, many of whom I’ve built rapport with from past projects whereas some others rose to the occasion who are making their debuts. A labor of love synergy. We all believed in what we were after together.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.