As a work that shares plenty of stylistic elements with its sibling film, naturally, there’s a similar admiration between Aneesh Changanty’s inspirations and Nick Johnson and Will Merrick’s. “Searching” had its roots in pulpy detective stories as well as David Fincher’s modern mystery classic, “Gone Girl.” “Yeah, I think there may be another ‘Gone Girl’ shout-out buried somewhere in this one as well,” Merrick agreed. “That was a big one.”
Outside of genre influences and small easter eggs, Merrick went on to explain how much more ambitious the scale of “Missing” is in comparison to “Searching,” using the expansive trajectory of the “Spider-Man” franchise as a comparison:
“We talked a lot about how if the first ‘Searching’ was Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man,’ we wanted this to be ‘Spider-Verse.’ We looked at all the classic missing-person stories. We looked at social media information. But as far as the idea of a child looking for their parent, I don’t think we ever found any comps. So really, a lot of the same influence as ‘Searching,’ plus ‘Spider-Verse’ and Edgar Wright, I would say.”
One aspect where the “Spider-Verse” and Wright inspirations shine through the most in “Missing” is the film’s fast pace and frantic energy. In a desktop feature, the editing truly takes the center stage. Despite being confined to a screen, the flow of “Missing” is never static. The directorial duo takes the time to zoom in, call attention to the most important details on the screen, and even come up with clever transitions that successfully convey the passage of time in unique ways. In one early scene involving a party, the camera rotates around June’s body in a fast collage of different Snapchat stories, videos, and other social media posts.