*Warning - this article deals with content some readers may find disturbing*
The director of a controversial horror movie has joined the chorus of those warning of its violence, after it went viral on TikTok.
'Megan is Missing' was released in 2011, but has burst to fame suddenly within the last week, after people began sharing their reactions to the movie on the app.
The film centres on the abduction of a teenager, Megan, who disappears after she strikes up a conversation with a supposed 17-year-old boy online and warns of the dangers of anonymous online interaction.
It uses a 'found footage' style to lend it a documentary feel, though the plot is fictional and follows Megan's best friend Amy, as she tries to discover what happened – landing herself in some dangerous situations along the way.
The MA rated film, which was written, directed and edited by American director Michael Goi, has drawn widespread criticism for its gratuitous violence, which has also seen it banned in New Zealand.
Goi, who has also worked on other big titles such as American Horror Story, has taken to the video-sharing platform to warn prospective viewers, appearing surprised by the sudden upsurge in viewings for the film, which was originally filmed in 2006.
Saying he had been contacted by the lead actress alerting to him to its new-found fame, Goi said he wanted to provide 'customary warnings'.
" …do not watch the movie in the middle of the night, do not watch the movie alone, and if you see the words 'Photo Number One' pop up on your screen, you have about four seconds to shut off the movie if you're already kind of freaking out before you start seeing things that maybe you don't want to see," he said.
'Photo number one' refers to graphic photos depicting Megan's mutilation and torture, which in the film are uploaded and shared online.
"Apologies to those who are already posting about how the movie has freaked them out, but fair warning to those of you who are still contemplating watching the film," Goi added.
The hashtag #Meganismissing began trending on TikTok on Sunday and has so far amassed more than 203 million views, with many filming their reactions to certain scenes or to issue trigger warnings of rape, sexual assault, violence and sexualisation of young girls, with many describing their viewing experience as 'traumatising'.
The film was also described by film critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas as 'torture porn'.
Some viewers have also posted their own warnings in online reviews, with one saying they thought they'd prepared themselves after hearing of the warnings, but they were wrong.
'"The movie is VERY disturbing towards the end. However, disturbing isn't even good enough to use. Honestly no one under the age of 16 should watch this, maybe even 18. I'm 20 and will never watch this movie again," they wrote.
"While the storyline is based off of abductions and what can occur when someone has been kidnapped, it is so real it's absolutely deranged and convulsive."