Parents’ nightmare: 20 films about missing children

The disappearance of a child is a real tragedy for loving parents who are ready to do anything for his return. However, films about missing children are not only crime stories about kidnapping, but also mystical and folk horror films. Our selection includes different films – from gloomy thrillers and life dramas to intricate detective stories and old action films.

Disappeared (2021)

The careerist Edmond always had work in the first place, which led to a break with his wife. After the divorce , the father rarely sees his son, but the shocking news makes the man interrupt his business trip. The ex-wife sent the boy to a summer camp, where the child suddenly disappeared. While the police are looking for clues and interviewing witnesses, Edmond begins his own investigation.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title:  
My Son

Genre:  
Drama, thriller, crime

Actors:  
James McAvoy, Claire Foy, Tom Cullen…

Country:  
UK, France

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 5.6, IMDb – 6.0

Age limit:  
16+


Wardrobe (2020)

The South Korean film about child abduction is a creepy horror movie with detective elements. The architect Sang-won’s wife dies in a car accident, and the man decides to move into a new house with his daughter, who has withdrawn into herself after the death of her mother. The widower himself suffers from panic attacks, so a change of scenery becomes a salvation for both. Fun returns to little I-na, but one day the child disappears without a trace. The help of the police does not work, and a desperate Sang-won is forced to turn to a specialist in otherworldly forces .

Original title:  
Keullojet

Genre:
Horror

Actors:  
Ha Jung-woo, Kim Nam-gil, Ho Yul …

Country:  
South Korea

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 5.7, IMDb – 5.7

Age limit:  
18+


Yaga. Dark Forest Nightmare (2020)

Spouses Alexey and Yulia move to a suburban house with their son Yegor and newborn Varenka. The couple hires Tatiana, taking a liking to her, although the boy does not like the nanny. Yegor tries to tell his mom and dad about the woman’s suspicious behavior, but no one believes him. One day the child returns from school and realizes that his sister has disappeared, and his parents do not remember her existence. Egor goes in search of Varya with his friends in the thicket , where the children will discover the gloomy secret of the nanny.

Genre:
Horror, fantasy

Actors:  
Oleg Chugunov, Glasha Golubeva, Artyom Zhigulin …

Country:  
Russia

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 4.6, IMDb – 4.7

Age restrictions:  
16+


Search (2018)

In a selection of films about missing children, this American thriller stands out for its unpredictable ending. After the death of his wife, David loses his emotional connection with his daughter Margo. Communication is limited to notes and messages on the smartphone, since the girl spends most of her time on the Internet. One morning, the father discovers several missed nightly calls from Margo, and attempts to contact her are futile. The phone is off, the police are sticking to the escape story, and David decides to hack into his daughter’s laptop to get to the bottom of the truth.

Original title:  
Searching

Genre:
Detective, thriller, drama

Actors:  
John Cho, Sarah Son, Alex Jane Gou…

Country:  
Russia, USA

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:  
16+


All the money in the world (2017)

The film is based on real events , when the missing teenager turned out to be the grandson of an influential billionaire. Oil tycoon Jean Paul Getty became famous as a clever strategist and an ardent admirer of world art. After the news of the kidnapping of his grandson, it turned out that the billionaire is a cynical miser, for whom a person’s life is not worth a penny. The tycoon refuses to pay the ransom for the young man, and the guy’s mother enters into a fight with an implacable businessman .

Original title:  
All the Money in the World

Genre:
Biography, thriller, crime

Actors:  
Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Romain Duris …

Country:  
USA, Italy, UK

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 6.8

Age restrictions:  
18 +


Dislike (2017)

A Russian film about the disappearance of children reveals an acute social problem, when a child has to pay for the mistakes of adults. Boris and Evgenia are in the process of divorcing, trying to complete the separation process as quickly as possible. None of the spouses wants to take responsibility for 12-year-old Alyosha, who seems to them an obstacle to their own happiness. After another high-profile scandal, the boy leaves home, considering himself superfluous in the family.

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Maryana Spivak, Alexei Rozin, Matvey Novikov …

Country:
Russia, France, Belgium, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:
18+


My son (2017)

Julien finally chose a career a few years ago when he decided to get a divorce. The geologist spends most of his time at work, but a call from his ex-wife disrupts him on the road. Marie reports that their son went missing on a camping trip, and the police suspect a kidnapping. Julien intends to find kidnappers on his own, but strong emotions prevent him from thinking sensibly. The hero of the film begins to see in every person the kidnapper of a child, and suspicions become a time bomb.

Original title:  
Mon garcon

Genre:
Thriller, drama

Actors:  
Guillaume Canet, Melanie Laurent, Olivier de Benoist…

Country:  
France, Belgium

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 5.6, IMDb – 5.8

Age restrictions:  
16+


Dark Gate (2015)

At a festive parade, a boy disappears without a trace, and the search for the police turns out to be fruitless. Michael Cole begins an independent investigation and finds out that every year evil spirits take children to themselves, but there is a ghostly chance to return the missing son. On Halloween night , the gates between the mystical and the real world open, and the father will have to go through the most terrible and terrible hours in order to save his own child.

Original title:  
Pay the Ghost

Genre:
Horror

Actors:  
Nicolas Cage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Veronica Ferres…

Country:  
USA

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 5.2, IMDb – 5.2

Age Limits
16+


Captives (2013)

A friendly dinner on Thanksgiving Day ends in tragedy – the little daughters of friends disappear. The girls played outside but did not return home from their walk. Missing Anna’s father remembers seeing a van parked nearby – and the police find the truck driver . For lack of evidence, the suspect is released, so the parents are forced to act on their own.

Original title:  
Prisoners

Genre:
Thriller, drama, crime

Actors:  
Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard …

Country:  
USA

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 8.1

Age restrictions:  
16+


Seventh Floor (2013)

Sebastian loves to arrange an interesting competition with his children – who will get down the fastest. The man rides the elevator , and the guys run down the stairs to the first floor. So far, the offspring have never managed to overtake their father, but one day the game ends too unpredictably. Sebastian arrives downstairs and is horrified to find that no one is there. An excited man starts a race against time, where every minute of delay can cost a child’s life.

Original title:
Séptimo

Genre:
Thriller, crime, detective

Actors:
Ricardo Darin, Belen Rueda, Abel Dolz Doval…

Country:
Spain, Argentina

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.7, IMDb – 5.9


Captive (2013)

Eight years ago, Matthew’s daughter Cassandra was kidnapped – and since then the father has not come to terms with the possible death of the girl. Unexpectedly for himself, a disconsolate parent finds signs that give him hope. The leads involve the disappearance of a missing child and indicate that Cassandra may be alive. Matthew resumes his search, gradually approaching the monstrous clue to the kidnapping of the girl.

Original title:  
The Captive

Genre:
Thriller, drama

Actors:  
Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson…

Country:  
Canada

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 6.0, IMDb – 5.9

Age restrictions:  
16+


Goodbye Baby Goodbye (2007)

The suburbs of Boston are alarmed by the sudden disappearance of little Amanda. A distraught mother approaches the kidnappers on TV to get her back, and her aunt hires private detectives to investigate. Patrick and his partner Angela are well aware of the disadvantaged area of ​​the city and its inhabitants, but the denouement of the story will shock even experienced detectives.

Original title:  
Gone Baby Gone

Genre:
Thriller, drama, crime

Actors:  
Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman

Country:  
USA

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.7

Age restrictions:  
16+


Flight Illusion (2005)

The sudden death of her beloved husband was a heavy blow for Kyle Pratt, so the woman decides to return with her daughter to New York. During the long flight, the widow falls asleep for a while, and when she wakes up, she discovers that the girl is missing. Kyle turns to passengers and flight attendants for help, but no one has seen a child next to her. Even the passenger manifest does not list her daughter’s name, and Pratt realizes that she will have to think for herself how to find 6-year-old Julia on board the plane .

Original title:  
Flightplan

Genre:  
Thriller, drama, detective

Actors:  
Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean …

Country:  
USA

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 6.3

Age restrictions:  
16+


Anger (2004)

A wave of kidnappings of relatives of influential people has swept across Mexico City, and industrialist Samuel Ramos hires an experienced bodyguard for his daughter – a former CIA agent John. At first, the task seems difficult to the hero of the film because of the unbearable nature of the little ward. Over time, Pita Ramos and John become friends, so the disappearance of the girl forces the ex-agent to go on the warpath.

Original title:  
Man on Fire

Genre:  
Action, thriller, drama, crime

Actors:  
Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Radha Mitchell, Christopher Walken, Mickey Rourke…

Country:  
USA, UK, Mexico, Switzerland

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.9, IMDb – 7.7

Age restrictions:  
16+


Ransom (1996)

Tom Malen is a successful tycoon and owner of a major airline whose little son is kidnapped. Unknown people demand a multi-million dollar ransom, and the businessman is ready to give the bandits the necessary amount. When the deal suddenly falls apart, Tom reaches out to the kidnappers via a TV channel. The kidnappers do not have much time to return the boy – otherwise Malene will pay for the painful death of the criminals.

Original title:
Ransom

Genre:
Action, thriller, crime

Actors:
Mel Gibson, Rene Russo, Gary Sinise…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 6.7

Age restrictions:
16+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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