(director/writer: Will Merrick/Nick Johnson; screenwriter: story by Sev Ohanian & Aneesh Chaganty; cinematographer: Steven Holleran; editors: Austin Keeling/Ariellr Zakowski; music: Julian Scherle; cast: Tim Griffin (James), Storm Reid (June),  Ava Lee (Young June), Nia Long (Grace), Kimberley Cheng (Field Reporter), Amy Landecker (Heather), Ken Leung (Kevin), Joaquim de Almeida (Javi), Daniel Henney (Agent Park), Megan Suri (Veena); Runtime: 111; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Natalie Osabian/Sev Ohanian/Aneesh Chaganty; Screen Gems; 2023)

“New way of doing a thriller.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

First time feature film writers and directors, Will Merrick and Nick Johnson, the editing team behind 2018’s Searching, give us a gripping novel story about a teen, June (when young- Ava Lee, when a teen, Storm Reid), who uses her computer to search for her missing mom, Grace (Nia Long). It’s a sequel, but with different characters.

When June’s father James (Tim Griffin) dies from cancer, the grief-stricken Grace relocates with June from San Antonio to Los Angeles to get a new start in life. June has a testy relationship with her possessive mom.

Mom vanishes, as she plans to go with her new boyfriend Kevin (Ken Leung) for a romantic vacation in Colombia, as she never shows at the L.A. airport when scheduled to get aboard. The night before June threw a wild house-party for friends to celebrate getting the house.

June never liked the dork boyfriend.

With mom missing and no help from the authorities, June plays amateur detective by searching for mom on her laptop. She finds secrets about her mom she couldn’t have imagined when she taps into mom’s dating app.

The gimmicky story is told through screens and TV monitors. It lacks the novelty and suspense of the original Searching, but still held my attention with its twists and new way of doing a thriller.