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Netflix is now streaming one of 2023’s best thrillers. Here’s why you should watch it

Only a few months after it debuted in theaters, Missing is now the most popular movie on Netflix. Anyone who has seen the movie, which focuses on a teenage girl who discovers that her mother has been kidnapped while on vacation and races to figure out what happened, understands why it’s managed to climb so high on the streaming service’s charts.

It’s a mystery worth watching, and many Netflix viewers seem to have figured that out. Here are five reasons the movie has managed to become such a Netflix phenomenon, and why you should watch it right now.

It has a unique storytelling structure

MISSING - Official Trailer (HD)

Missing is not the first movie to tell its story entirely within the confines of a screen. In fact, it’s a sort of sideways sequel to Searching, a similar movie that was released in 2018. There’s a whole subgenre of thriller and horror movies called screenlife that focuses the narrative on computer, mobile phone, and/or tablet screens. Some popular examples of this type of film include the 2014 B-movie Unfriended and last year’s critically acclaimed movie We’re All Going to the World’s Fair.

Even so, Missing remains unusual both because it’s set entirely on screens, and because that storytelling device doesn’t limit the story’s scope at all. Instead, it serves as a reminder that so many of the ways we connect with one another today are through our screens, giving the movie an entirely distinct look and feel.

Missing is full of twists you never see coming

Two girls look at a computer in Missing.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

One of the main reasons that Missing has proven to be such a tremendous success is that it knows to dole out one twist approximately every 15 minutes. These twists don’t just complicate what we thought we were watching, they add new layers of meaning to the story as it unfolds.

Even better, none of these twists feel out of place. They’re surprising without feeling absurd, and as a result, they’re exactly the kind of hook that keeps audiences watching from moment to moment.

The movie gives Storm Reid a great showcase for her talent

Sony Pictures

Because this movie is set almost entirely on screens, we have to spend a lot of time watching Storm Reid, the movie’s star, as she reacts to new developments and continues searching for her mom.

Thankfully, Reid is a hugely compelling actor and the perfect young star to build a movie like this around. Reid has already had roles in shows like Euphoria and The Last of Us, but Missing proves that she’s a major talent worth watching as she ages into her full star power.

Missing has a great ending

Sony Pictures

Given the number of twists featured in Missing, it would be highly possible for the movie to fall flat on its face when it attempted to wrap its story up. Thankfully, that is not a problem Missing has.

In fact, Missing‘s ending is so perfectly set up by the little details that we pick up on earlier that the closer you watch the movie, the better. In addition to bringing a satisfying end to the mystery, though, Missing also packs an emotional wallop in its final moments that will definitely make you appreciate your mom more than you already do.

It’s under two hours

Image used with permission by copyright holder

On top of its many other wonderful qualities, Missing also comes in at 111 minutes, nine minutes under the two-hour mark. That makes it an ideal movie to watch on a normal movie night. Given the number of twists it packs into that running time, most viewers are likely to feel like it’s a good return on their time investment.

It’s a well-acted, satisfying mystery that sticks that landing and tells its story in an unusual way, andit  does all that in under two hours. When you think about it like that, it’s no wonder the movie’s popular.

Missing is currently streaming on Netflix. For more Missing content, please read DT’s interview with Missing‘s editors and 5 movies like Missing.

Editors' Recommendations

Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.
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