Aneesh Chaganty’s “The Searching” makes jaws drop in suspense

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By Evi Tarshis ’20

Walking into award-winning film director Aneesh Chaganty’s new movie, “The Searching,” I had pretty high expectations and I was not disappointed.

The film tells the story of single father, David Kim (Jim Choy), whose teenage daughter, Margot (Michelle La), goes missing after not coming home one night. After snooping through his daughter’s things, he finds no evidence of her whereabouts, but instead he comes to a devastating realization that he knew much less about his daughter than he thought.

As days go by with no signs of Margot, David gets infuriated. Taking the case out of the hands of detective Rosemary Vick (Debra Messing), he starts his own search to find his daughter.

Similar to the 2014 movie, “Unfriended”, the entirety of “The Searching” is shown through the screen of the father’s computer. “Unfriended” holds a pretty stable spot on my list of favorites- that’s why going into “The Searching,” I was pretty confident that by the time I would leave I would have a new title to add to my favorites list.

However, soon into the movie, I realized it was actually quite different than “Unfriended.” The movie’s plot unwinds through a series of home-videos, Facetime calls and Youtube videos rather than solely a Skype call. This makes solving the mystery even more suspenseful since the audience is limited to so little information.

The movie’s cast wasn’t too large but really went in-depth about the father. It was shocking to watch how David Kim’s character developed from the start to end of the movie. The movie also did a great job showing how far a love for a child can go, as well as the the steps a father will take for the sake of his daughter’s safety.

Nowadays, with all the new mystery and horror movies coming out, it’s hard to reach the standards of true fans of the genre. However being a first-time filmmaker and having already been awarded the “2018 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize” for works pertaining to science or technology,” makes my even more of a fan of Chaganty as a director. Needless to say, I walked out of that movie theater with a whole new standard for mystery movies. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is a must-see.

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