I’d like to start by saying the point of this movie is very important, to every person, and especially to parents. The subject matter is very intense, and startling in its depiction of how many teen girls really act. That said, the beginning hour or so of this film sucks, and is totally unnecessary.
Megan and Amy are best friends, and while Megan is super popular (guess why), Amy is sort of a loner. Perhaps there is some character development needed, but watching teenage girls act like sluts and talk about how many guys they’ve been with while doing drugs, getting drunk, and throwing unchaperoned house parties is not my idea of a good time. Not all girls act like that, and it doesn’t need to be glorified. They also tend to talk to many guys over the internet and meet them, which for a 13 and 14-year-old is not the best idea in the world. However, it does lead up to the rest of the film, and it is not much of a surprise when Megan goes missing after supposedly going to meet “Josh”, a guy she’s never seen because his webcam is broke, I guess? Red alert, maybe? Fourteen year olds are not this dumb and if they are, their parents need serious help and should be charged with negligence. No 13-14 year old should be allowed to have an internet-enabled computer in their room unsupervised. In this day and age? Idiots. Besides the weirdness that comes from noticing that I know a girl who looks just like the actress playing Megan, the characters are pretty annoying and snarky. But then, what teenage girl isn’t at some point?
Common sense aside, I suppose it is also no surprise that everyone blames Amy, the outcast, for Megan’s disappearance, because teenagers can be really dumb and cruel. Amy decides to contact “Josh”, who proceeds to berate her, humiliate her, and threaten her over the internet. She is very attached to her video camera, and uses it to record her thoughts and feelings about Megan and what’s happened. Megan’s disappearance is all over the news, and completely takes over another case of a missing African-American boy, because our world has become so prejudiced these days, and since Megan is white and rich, this should also come as no surprise, much to my chagrin. Amy doesn’t speak up about “Josh” until weeks later, when suddenly she also promptly disappears while videotaping herself talking in her favorite hide-out spot. Now they’re both gone, and authorities are baffled. Of course, no one knows who “Josh” is, and apparently cannot track their conversations or IP address. However, two photos portraying a distressed Megan entrapped in some sort of device are somehow leaked on the internet. The last 30 minutes or so of this film are the best, because it finally gets going, albeit being very graphic and saddening. Seriously, the last part of the film is a little disturbing, particularly when you realize this guy will never be caught, and no one knows if these girls will ever be found.
Amy is taken to some dungeon somewhere and stripped down and forced into a closet where she is locked in. She is forced to eat off the floor, yelled at, hosed down with cold water, and finally brutally raped. This is all caught on Amy’s video camera, which the killer has now used as a trophy of sorts. The authorities eventually find it in a trash can near where Amy vanished, and are horrified at what they see. After being brutalized, the killer tells her they are leaving, and she is forced near a big blue barrel which finally reveals its contents – a very dead Megan. Amy is screaming hysterically as she is forced into the barrel and carted out into the woods somewhere. The killer digs a giant hole for about, maybe 10 minutes or so (seriously), as Amy begs and pleads with him to no avail, and then he dumps the barrel inside and covers it up. The film ends with a previous video of Amy and Megan talking about their lives, their friendships, and their bright futures that lay ahead….
These last few haunting shots of the film are definitely sick and twisted, and heartbreaking as you begin to realize that no matter how dumb these girls are, no one deserves this. It is also maddening because these days it is so hard to get through to kids and young teens about the dangers of the world. It sounds so cliché, but is it not true? Every week we’re hearing about some young person vanishing, either by way of the internet, or out doing something else crazy. I do not want to sound preachy, but if any movie will make you think this way, it’s this one. Like I said, the beginning half of the movie is pretty dumb, dull, and boring, but it really shows that young kids are extremely naive and way too trusting. They think, “Oh, it’ll never happen to me”, but apparently it will. The shots of Megan rotting in the barrel are brutal, and I have never seen a movie where the killer stuffs his living victim in a barrel with a dead one. Horrifying. As for the long-winded shovel dig, it does seem to take forever, literally, like, six or seven minutes long, but I suppose it is effective and useful in showing the horror of child abduction and murder. Anytime we as a society can grasp this and wake the fuck up, I guess it is a good thing. All said, this movie’s all right, not one you’ll want to watch often, but by the end it does have an incredibly powerful message. While it is not the most graphic movie I’ve ever seen or ever will see, it sort of haunts you and shocks you a little, like the way it feels splashing extremely cold water on your face. I’d fast forward some of the beginning, because it’s just like watching a teenage sex comedy, but the rest is kind of decent.