June Allen defines a modern teenager: as resourceful, adept, technology-centric, cunning, and fearless. The character will need all of her faculties as she tries to find her missing mom in Nick Johnson’s and Will Merrick’s riveting Missing, now in theaters.

June, played by Storm Reid, is your typical, rambunctious, and rebellious teenager living in Los Angeles. Her mom, Grace (Nia Long), has a new boyfriend, Kevin Lin (Ken Leung), and they are preparing for a last-minute trip to Colombia when Grace mysteriously goes missing.

Carrying on with the innovative screen life mystery thriller storytelling revealed in 2018’s Searching, Johnson and Merrick adapted Sev Ohanian’s and Aneesh Chaganty’s story in Missing to a mostly positive effect. Missing retains the mystery and builds on the thrillerish tension by containing the account to a computer screen, a phone screen, or a camera feed fed to whatever device June has handy.

Johnson and Merrick are very young first-time co-directors, but that doesn’t stop them from being able to demonstrate the technical skills between generations, at least from the perspective of a teenager. They imbue June with the skills she needs; however, they do it at a pace that the audience can digest what’s happening.

As the story delves further into the mystery, we are introduced to Javier Ramos (Joaquim de Almeida), a complete stranger to June. As footloose, a teenager as June is, the fact that she had and was able to rely on and trust in a complete stranger to help her find her mom is impressive. The character moments between the two demonstrate what a connected world we live in, and it’s because we have cameras everywhere, leading me to question just how strongly our reliance on technology drives our daily lives.

Thoughts about a  lack of privacy wash away as June encounters resistance from our government in being able to locate Grace. The story takes a few strange tacks in the latter part of the second act that gives us pause as to where the story ends up going. However, this well-constructed mystery eventually solves itself because it takes time to build our faith in June’s abilities.

The third is probably the weakest of the three acts, hampered by convenient technology and a rather unorthodox yet reasonable resolution. Still, June’s character arc felt complete, we are comfortable with the outcome, and we’re left wanting more of these types of stories.

And that’s where I take a bit of an issue with Missing. Searching gave us something truly innovative in terms of its storytelling technique. In developing Missing‘s story, it becomes an extension of Chaganty’s Run, which I have not seen and has been defined as an anthology of stories. Even with a spare 111-minute run time, the screen life gimmick can only be used so much to tell these types of stories. Admittedly, the creativity displayed in Missing is off-the-chart. That it fell off in the third act gives me a moment of pause in just how effective a virtualized world depicted in the film really is going forward.

Suffice it to say, Missing is a worthwhile watch with a crowd. Storm Reid, Nia Long, and Joaquim de Almeida are all excellent in their performances. Missing is a worthy follow-up to Searching. Now that the innovation has demonstrated its effectiveness, and we get its point, thought should be given to expanding its use, not relying solely on it.