Synopsis: The Missing centers around Iris (Ritz Azul) is a restoration architect who suffers from PTSD after witnessing the kidnapping of her little sister. She receives an offer from a former Japanese professor to work on the restoration of their 99-year old ancestral home. Accompanied by her ex-boyfriend Job (Joseph Marco) and the professor’s intern Len (Miles Ocampo), they uncover mysteries about the house and the spirits that inhabit it.
I must commend the filmmakers for amazing cinematography that captured the beauty of Saga, Japan. Each scene was framed to perfection, I must say, serving up the right angles and camera treatment.
However, there is something to be said about a film when the extras are acting better than the main stars. On all accounts, The Missing had a passable story. Not original but it was solid enough to deliver a memorable film.
What sunk the movie was the wooden acting of Ritz Azul, and surprisingly, Joseph Marco. It seemed that Ritz was focusing too much on her heavier scenes so there was an underlying sense of consciousness and unease in her overall potrayal. At times she was overacting, while in others, she was under delivering. Apart from a very few occasions, she never quite hit the mark. If you would say I was being too harsh because she should be uneasy as the person who was the main the subject of the hauntings, you only have to watch a few minutes of the movie for me to prove my point.
Joseph Marco, who is quite a decent actor in his other projects, seemed to be infected with the wooden acting bug as well, this time around. There is a half heartedness in his effort, perhaps to withhold a final twist in his character — but it was pretty annoying to watch his hapless efforts for the better part of two hours. After all, one twist does not one film make.
Miles Ocampo seemed like the only person who tried to make an effort on her role, delivering just the right amount of reactions for her role. Also kudos to the Japanese extras who really rose to the challenge in delivering heartfelt terror when it came to their parts.
The film was mildly scary, truth be told. As someone who has seen hundreds of horror movies over the years, the scares were pretty predictable. It all went by the book, from the set up, to the background music, to the execution. In all fairness, the special effects were great. Kudos to the team for that.
The film proceeded at a very very slow pace, which seems to the match the traditional inspired music that served as the movie’s backdrop. The musical score was solid, but the classical approach, coupled with the film’s treatment does not help in keeping the viewers engaged. Congratulate yourself if you manage to make it to the end without dozing off.
Overall, The Missing could have been so much more, if it avoided the fatal error in casting. Bad acting really sealed the deal for this movie and its hard to recover from this epic failure.