It’s a thought that, as common as it is, remains disturbing: Despite how much we think we know about our family members, friends and peers, thanks to the constant, pervasive interconnectivity of the internet age, there’s a creeping doubt that gnaws at each of our minds, asking, “How well do I really know this person?”
John Cho’s Searching character, David Kim, finds himself confronting that question at the most gut-wrenching possible time: after his 16-year-old daughter, Margot (Michelle La, Mom), has gone missing. Though a detective (Debra Messing, Will & Grace) takes the case, investigators come up empty … until David decides to search the one place no one has checked, where so many modern secrets are kept: his daughter’s laptop. The entire film is presented through today’s array of screens and social media platforms—Facebook, YouTube, FaceTime and so on, as seen in the tense, almost claustrophobic trailer—as David scrambles to piece together his daughter’s digital identity, discovering where—and who—she is before it’s too late.
First-time feature director Aneesh Chaganty helmed the thriller previously known only as Search, cowriting its script alongside Sev Ohanian. Searching premiered at Sundance earlier this year, where it won multiple awards and widespread acclaim: The film currently boasts a perfect 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, and Paste named Cho’s performance one of Sundance’s very best. “We only see Cho through FaceTime and other screens, so there’s an element of distancing that occurs in Searching,” wrote Paste’s Tim Grierson. “But Cho erases that distance, making us feel this father’s growing dread as the accumulation of clues suggests that something terrible has happened to his baby girl.”
Searching opens on Aug. 3. Watch the first trailer below.