A 2011 horror film, which was banned in New Zealand, has found a new lease of life after going viral on TikTok. Users on the platform are filming their reactions to the controversial movie, called Megan is Missing, which many say has left them traumatised.
The film’s writer and director Michael Goi has been forced to issue a trigger warning to his newfound audience. “I got a text from Amber Perkins, the lead actress in my movie, that it was exploding on TikTok at the moment,” Goi told viewers.
“I didn’t get to give you the customary warnings that I used to give people before they watched Megan is Missing, which 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 one’ 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.”
The director also apologised to “those who are already posting about how the movie has freaked them out”.
At the time of writing, the #MeganIsMissing hashtag has over 70 million views. A number of clips show people sharing their reaction to the film at 30 minutes, one hour, and after it ends – most of the time they end up in tears. Others have warned users about watching it in the first place. User @lilnutmegg told her followers: “If you are thinking of watching Megan is Missing, please don’t. I love horror/thriller/murder mysteries and I can watch them very easily, but this one I will never ever forget. I couldn’t even finish it.”
Megan is Missing was filmed in 2006, but didn’t find distribution until 2011, when it was given a limited release. The script was written over 10 days and the film was shot in just one week. It centres on two 14-year-old students, Megan Stewart (Rachel Quinn) and Amy Herman (Amber Perkins), and tells the story of their lives in the days leading up to Megan’s disappearance, and the awful events that subsequently unfold.
The movie has been criticised for its poor acting, exploitative nature, graphic violence, and oversexualisation of teenagers. Upon its release, it was banned in New Zealand, with the country’s Office of Film and Literature Classification stating: “The feature depicts sexual violence and sexual conduct involving young people to such an extent and degree, and in such a manner, that the availability of the publication is likely to be injurious to the public good.”
Although Megan is Missing is inspired by real-life abductions of children, the actual story isn’t real, despite marketing itself as based on true events.