By Rachel Yang
November 15, 2020 at 08:46 PM EST
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Credit: Trio Pictures

The controversial 2011 horror film Megan Is Missing has been revived from the dead, thanks to TikTok.

In the past few days, many users have been posting about discovering the film and their reactions after watching it, with one TikToker calling it "traumatic" and another saying "I'm scared to go out now."

The film also began trending on Twitter, garnering over 55,000 recent tweets, with commenters discussing its intense scenes and themes.

If you've come across the title on social media, you might be confused about all the fuss around Megan Is Missing. Is it real? Just how scary is it? EW breaks it down for you below.

What is Megan Is Missing about?

Written and directed by American filmmaker Michael Goi in a found footage style, Megan Is Missing tells the story of two teenage best friends, Megan Stewart (Rachel Quinn) and Amy Herman (Amber Perkins) in North Hollywood, Calif. After Megan begins talking to a boy she met online, she disappears, leading Amy down a treacherous path in hopes of finding her.

Goi, who later worked on American Horror Story and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, originally shot the film in 2006. However, it did not find distribution until 2011, when Anchor Bay Films gave it a limited theatrical release.

Why is it controversial?

Megan Is Missing is officially banned in New Zealand, with the country's Office of Film and Literature Classification describing it as "objectionable."

"The feature depicts sexual violence and sexual conduct involving young people to such an extent and degree, and in such a manner, that the availability of the publication is likely to be injurious to the public good," the office wrote.

Film critics also panned the portrayal of the movie's main characters, the acting of the inexperienced performers, and the over-sexualization of the young protagonists.

“Goi’s motive was unquestionably positive — he’s a good guy who really wanted to save kids’ lives — but that didn’t stop Megan Is Missing from being dismissed as torture porn: ultimately, it still looks and feels like an exploitation film," film scholar Alexandra Heller-Nicholas said.

Does it tell a real story?

No. While Goi based his film on real-life child abductions, Megan Is Missing is itself not a real story or based on one specific tale. But viewers wouldn't be faulted for thinking the events in the film really happened, as it marketed itself as based on true events. And despite much criticism against it, it received an endorsement from Marc Klaas, the father of a 12-year-old girl who was kidnapped and killed in 1993.

Is it worth watching?

We'll leave that up to you, but you should know that Goi has commented on his movie's revived popularity and issued a caution to people interested in watching Megan Is Missing.

"I got a text from Amber Perkins, the lead actress in my movie, that it’s exploding on TikTok at the moment," Goi said in a video on the platform. "I didn’t get to give you the customary warnings that I used to give people before they watched Megan Is Missing, which are: do not watch the movie in the middle of the night, do not watch the movie alone, and if you see the words 'Photo No. 1' pop up on your screen, you have about four seconds to shut off the movie if you’re already kind of freaking out before you start seeing things that maybe you don’t want to see."

He continued, "Apologies to those who are already posting about how the movie is already freaked them out. Fair warning to those of you who are still contemplating watching the film."

Where can I watch it?

You can rent Megan Is Missing on Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and YouTube. The trailer is also available below, to watch at your own discretion:

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