Netflix Instant Review: June 9
June 9 (2008)
Release Date: June 9, 2008
Directed By: T. Michael Conway
Cast: Jon Ray, Trevor Williams, Maggie Blazunas, Alasha Wright & Chad Vincent.
Review By: Annie Riordan
To quote 80s all girl supergroup Bananarama: It’s a cruel, cruel summer. Cute song. Kinda catchy. Made a pleasant enough 4 minute long music video. But this particular Cruel Summer, a mockumentary featuring a week in the lives of five bored teenagers compressed into 95 minutes, isn’t cute. Or catchy. Prety cruel, though. In more ways than one.
Having been on summer vacation for, what – 25 minutes? – five teenage friends are looking for something to do which will relieve their angsty suburban boredom. The year is 1999, well before the internet actually became interesting. Sex seems like a no-go, as the kids are either too young or too stupid to know how the interlocking pieces fit together. So, that leaves cruising around in mom’s SUV and annoying the shit out of people as their activity of choice. One such excursion leads them to the small town of Boston Mills, where they happen upon a back field full of marijuana growing wild and free. Scared off by a guy who looks like a Cuban cigar vendor, the kids return home and inform the local pot dealer of their find. Mr. Dealer – who, for some reason, allows himself to be filmed whilst discussing the procuration and future distribution of said pot – also gives the kids a warning: Stay away from Boston Mills. It’s cursed. People have disappeared there and there’s a haunted school bus and a Satanic Church and all kinds of shit.
Do the kids heed his sound, hemp soaked advice? Fuck no, of course not. They return to Boston Mills ASAfuckingP, playing doorbell ditch, antagonizing the locals and generally acting like the selfish, immature assholes that they all are, all the while keeping the camera rolling. By the time they realize that they’ve taken shit way too far, it’s already way too late. The locals have had enough of their shit. Time to die.
And not a moment too soon, either. These kids are beyond annoying. They’ve gone beyond the borders of annoying into the realm of pure abrasive exasperation. They’re actually not bad actors: all five of them had me totally convinced that they were spoiled rotten, arrogant little shits who got what they so richly deserved. They all did such a good job, in fact, that I didn’t give a single fibrous shit about any of them at any time during this 95 minute Blair Witchian trip. And just to be clear, that’s 90 minutes of watching these jackasses act like…well, like jackasses, and 5 minutes of horror, blood and gore tacked on at the last possible moment.
I cannot altogether dismiss June 9 as a bad film, however. It definitely has its moments, and quite a few of them are even genuinely creepy. But in completely lacking to build up any sense of compassion for these kids, it ultimately comes off as a “Why Bother?” venture. Just a little bit of compassion would have helped. A smidge? These apparently parentless Peanuts-gone-delinquent douchebags linger and press their luck and long overstay their already dubious welcome, making it increasingly difficult to believe that anyone will miss them when they’re gone.
There’s also several superfluous subplots that go nowhere and accomplish nothing. What was the deal with the flatbed drivers and their 70s CB lingo? What exactly is the significance of June 9 itself? There had to have been one, since at one point the creepy waitress at the creepy diner creepily states that it is June 7th in a manner that implies that June 9 is, indeed, significant in the most sinister of ways. Or did I nod off during a pivotal plot point? I don’t know. And I don’t care enough to watch it a second time and find out for sure.
Carrying hints of The Wicker Man and Children of the Corn deep within its foundations, June 9 shows promise, but ultimately could have done a lot better.