The thriller starring John Cho Searching is getting a sequel. Telling the story of a father’s frantic and increasingly desperate search for his daughter, the movie was a surprise hit. It went on to gross over $75 million by the end of its theatrical release against a budget of just one million.
Released in 2018, Searching distinguished itself by taking place entirely on screens: phone screens, computer screens, television screens, etc. The film takes the framing device of the horror franchise Unfriended and uses it to enhance a different and far more grounded terror: the panic that a parent would feel if one of their children suddenly went missing. Initially optimistic, refusing to believe the worse, David Kim (Cho) soon relies on the help of a detective (Debra Messing) to find his teenage daughter. Cho was praised for his gradually paranoid portrayal and the film is notable, in its early moments, for the subtle exploration of how the internet has evolved from something that can bring a family together to later serving as the excuse for them drifting apart.
Now, as reported by Deadline, a Searching sequel is in development. While the original creative team of director Aneesh Chaganty and his co-writer Sev Ohanian are slated to return, the plot will revolve around a new cast of characters who have to solve a mystery that will play out entirely from the perspective of a screen. No specific date was given for the sequel’s release or whether any actors might reprise their roles from the first film. On Twitter, Chaganty confirmed the sequel and the new storyline.
It’s true. But note: the story will not follow the same characters or plot line as the first. Most importantly, we see this as an opportunity to tell another original, tech-driven thriller. If we can do that AND help bring new faces/voices to the industry, bonus points :) https://t.co/eg9AnfpD9V— Aneesh Chaganty (@aneeshchaganty) August 14, 2019
In an interview with Screen Rant, Chaganty spoke about his reluctance to do a film that relied so heavily on technology. The director explained the movie had such a concept-driven story. If he could not execute his vision in a way that felt fresh, he said, then he wasn’t sure about doing it at all. By all accounts, Chaganty succeeded in his hopes of marrying the technique with the narrative. Other than its unexpected achievement at the box office, Searching was met with glowing reviews that praised the film for conveying so much emotion with little more than Cho’s performance as a guide.
As for the sequel, with its details yet to be ironed out, it could take a cue from the second entry in the Unfriended franchise. The first film was elevated by its unique framing device, but it was a typical tale of unlikable characters being killed off in quick fashion. The second outing, Dark Web, flipped expectations by making the protagonists quite sympathetic and upping the level of cruelty. The Searching sequel could surprise viewers in a similar manner, by being a complete departure from its predecessor.