What Parents Need to Know about TikTok and the Movie Megan is Missing

Giovanna, my intern, updated me about a recent trend on TikTok where people are sharing videos of their reaction to watching the movie Megan is Missing. Giovanna told me that the movie is about two 14-year-old girls who go missing after meeting a stranger online, and that it was very disturbing. Since I work with students as young as 2nd grade who are using TikTok and could easily stumble upon this, I decided to watch the movie to see why #meganismissing is trending on Tiktok. I wanted to share with you what I discovered. 

This movie is NOT for kids. Many adults would have a difficult time getting through it. There are many topics in this movie that are not for youth including sex, violence, gore, profanity, alcohol, drugs, disturbing imagery, a graphic rape scene, a decomposing body, being buried alive, and a scene with Megan locked in a sex-torture device. I was going to describe scene by scene for you like I did in my Cuties blog, but I found a nice write up from IMDB that does the job very thoroughly.

From IMDB:

Sex & Nudity – Content Level: Severe

  • Includes sex scenes and discussions with actresses playing underage girls. No nudity is shown.
  • Megan, who is 14, gives Ben a blowjob. Her head is seen bobbing up and down over his crotch area. There is no nudity, and the scene only lasts for a couple of seconds.
  • People make out and kiss at a party.
  • Lexie and Chelsea make out, this scene lasts for about 8 seconds and then Amy gets sick on top of them.
  • Megan talks about giving a blow job in massive detail.
  • Megan talks about previous sexual encounters with detail.
  • Megan mentions being raped in the past.
  • Amy is shown in her bra and panties for extended periods of time.

Violence & Gore – Content Level: Severe

  • This film lacks excessive gore, but many violent acts are implied.
  • Megan and her mum yell at each other very violently in some scenes.
  • Amy gets sick on top of two girls kissing passionately.
  • Do not think that the lack of gore means that it is not disturbing. This film is extremely disturbing. The two central female character’s ages are given as 14 years old.
  • An older boy slaps Amy in the face.
  • A dead body is shown on screen, the person has been dead for a while and putrefaction has set in, it lacks usual skin pigmentation and the eyes are fully white. It is shown for a few seconds, but quite alarming and unexpected.

Profanity – Content Level: Severe

  • Almost every word is said by teenager
  • At least 51 F-Words, 19 use of S**t, 6 uses of God, 4 uses of Jesus and Ass, 3 uses of Christ, 2 uses of Hell, 1 use of Piss and 7 exclamations (shut up.)
  • Megan gives “the middle finger” up to Ben.
  • Name calling (Bitch, Slut, Virgins, Hoe, Dork, Pathetic, Stalker, Crazy, Fat, Idiot, Jerk, Losers, Drag, Freak, Pimple, Old, Stupid, Crappy, and Piece of S**t.)

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking – Content Level: Severe

  • Young teens do various drugs and drink beer throughout the film, including Megan and Amy.
  • Marijuana, Coke/Speed and ecstasy are used.

Frightening & Intense Scenes – Content Level: Severe

  • The movie is extremely intense and hard to watch.
  • This movie becomes very frightening and intense once the kidnapping has occurred. (The last 22 minutes of ‘uncut’ footage)
  • The rape scene is very intense and drawn out, and it is disturbing. 
  • This movie has serious subject matter, and should not be seen by people who are easily upset by films.
  • It is however very effective in its message and people have debated whether it is appropriate enough to educate pre-teens with. Some say it is much too intense and disturbing for pre-teens while others say that is the entire point. This is entirely up to the parent. *****RECOMMENDATIONS  FROM RYAN: I DISAGREE: THIS IS NOT AN APPROPRIATE EDUCATIONAL TOOL FOR ANY YOUTH!!!*****

Sex & Nudity – Additional Concerns

  • A rape is shown on screen, but it is only Amy’s face and top bra covered half. This lasts for approximately 2 minutes.

Violence & Gore – Additional Concerns

  • There are photos of Megan locked inside a device; her eyes wide and wild, her hair matted and disheveled. Built into the table-top pillory near the neck opening are metal hook braces that hold Megan’s mouth wide open. A rubber band is slung over her head, ending in another metal hook that is lodged in her nostrils, pulling the base of her nose upward. Megan’s fingers, hands, and knees are bloody, showing she’s been tortured and abused for some time.
  • A rape is depicted onscreen, it shows Amy screaming and crying in agony. The rapist’s bloodied hand is shown.

Frightening & Intense Scenes – Additional Concerns

  • There is a particularly horrific and frightening scene where a barrel is opened and a very realistic looking decomposing corpse of Megan is shown, Amy is forced under extreme protest into this barrel with Megan’s corpse.
  • Amy gets buried alive with Megan’s dead body in a barrel, weeping, begging, and screaming for her life throughout, this scene is not only disturbing but long.”

Megan is Missing was released in 2011 and is making its resurgence as a result of TikTok. A DVD copy on eBay will cost you $100.  However, any youth can access it. Once they learn about the movie, they simply have to search it on YouTube. There are several “full movie” options to choose from. 

Do your best to prevent your kiddos from watching this. Talk to them about what’s trending on different social media platforms they use. Ask what fun, wacky, weird, or scary things they’ve seen. Open up the discussion.  Set some expectations around technology use with a contract. If they have watched Megan is Missing or something else scary, check out these tips on how to talk to your child about it. Open communication is the key.  I would not recommend Megan is Missing for anyone under 18 or TikTok for anyone under 17. ~Ryan 

Giovanna’s thoughts: Some people assume the movie is based solely from one true case, but it’s reportedly based upon a combination of events. Please be aware that when the movie gets to the “Warning Photo 1” things will get even more disturbing. The last 20 minutes of the movie are very graphic and unsettling. When I initially came across reactions on TikTok, my only intention was to watch the trailer on YouTube. But when I saw that the full movie was available, I thought, Why not watch the entire movie, how bad can it be? I was unable to finish the movie, but the disturbing images still stayed in my mind for weeks. This movie was intended to spread awareness about the dangers of talking to strangers, but watching it will cause more harm than good. ~Giovanna