This post contains SPOILERS for Searching
Tech thriller Searching hid its twist ending in a clever Easter egg. Released this past summer, the film captivated audiences with its modern social media premise and rode waves of positive buzz to box office success. Critics were impressed with the uniqueness of the execution and the strong performances.
Directed by Aneesh Chaganty and co-produced by Timur Bekmambetov, Searching examines a father’s attempt to locate his missing daughter. In the primary male role, John Cho plays David Kim, a widower who keeps a close eye on his teenage daughter Margot (Michelle La) via his home computer and smartphone. After Searching establishes the pattern of communication between the father and daughter, the latter’s disappearance inspires a frantic search that leads to obvious suspects. The elder Kim questions every piece of new information, and primarily uses his computer to organize the facts. As the narrative pacing intensifies, Kim scrolls through a plethora of e-mails, picking and choosing which ones to read based on the subject line.
Related: Read Screen Rant's Searching Review
Inverse recently offered some insight into Searching’s upcoming Blu-ray feature “The Theory Behind the Easter Eggs." In the film, Debra Messing’s Detective Vick leads the investigation, and her involvement initially concerns Kim, as he’s not quite sure what to believe when sorting through all the information. As it turns out, Vick was part of the cover-up, but only to protect her son. In the exclusive Searching bonus clip, Chaganty and co-producer Sev Ohanian point out that Vick accidentally reveals her true involvement by telling Kim she knows about “the lake.” In another scene, the subject of a confession tape appears to be reading a note offscreen. But the most intriguing reveal is the meta clue that’s not only in the center of the frame for the audience, but also in the center of Kim’s computer monitor. The character actually receives an e-mail from the aforementioned Sev Ohanian, with the subject line stating “Your daughter was catfished by this “Fish_N_Chips” character - who is no doubt the son of...” This is one of many unopened e-mails on Kim’s computer, and one click would’ve pointed the finger directly at Detective Vick.
Searching first premiered at Sundance last January and received a wide theatrical release on August 24. The film was reportedly made for only $1 million and ultimately made over $65 million during its theatrical run, all the while building upon the premises of computer screen films like Unfriended (2014) and Unfriended: Dark Web (2018) -- both of which were also produced by Bekmambetov.
While Searching may not have the awards season clout of other 2018 hits, the film proves that small-budget films with smart societal commentaries are viable options at the local movie theatre, and certainly when they’re released online.