Sometimes movies fall under the radar. Maybe the release is delayed or a similar major studio release overshadows it. Regardless some movies never reach their audience. Hence, we’re introducing a new column here at The Abominable Dr Welsh – The Obscuratorium – to shine a light on titles that escaped us. At the height of the found footage phenomenon, T Michael Conway’s high schooler ‘prank-gone-wrong‘ June 9 made barely a ripple in the horror market. It was Conway’s second – and last – directorial effort. Courtesy of the ever diversifying availability of VOD platforms, June 9 can now be found on Tubi and Amazon Prime. But is there an audience for this obscure found footage thriller?
Five teens looking for kicks after the end of the school year decide to film themselves committing a series of pranks. But stories of strange things happening in the small town of Boston Mills prove too tempting. Over the course of four days, the teens repeatedly return to Boston Mills in an escalating war of dares. On June 9, the teens returned to Boston Mills for the last time – they were never seen or heard from again. Now the missing footage filmed by the friends has surfaced, documenting the final days of the ‘Boston Mills Five’.
June 9 Includes Nonsensical Story Bits In Between an Hour of Filler
In spite of its simple premise, writer and director T Michael Conway opts to pad his movie with a lot of half-baked story threads. What starts as teen pranksters running afoul of creepy locals slowly takes on elements never satisfactorily explained. Is it a small farm operating an illegal marijuana grow-op? No. Occasionally, Conway teases possible supernatural elements. Early in the movie, a character describes legends around bad happenings in ‘Helltown”. Nearly two-thirds later into the movie, locals fill in some more blanks. But none of this explains similarly dressed characters standing like states in farmhouse windows. Nothing ever comes together in June 9.
Nothing ever comes together in June 9.
To some extent, June 9’s storytelling problem stems from the found-footage format. With its POV approach, filmmakers face limitations to crafting intricate mythologies. The Blair Witch Project used its first act meticulously assembling pieces of a story that coalesced by its climax. Comparatively, we spend most of the movie’s first hour on its unlikable teen pranksters’ tiresome antics. Conway overestimates how much story he has to fill a runtime that long overstays its welcome. Bits of potential story pop up here and there. But June 9 does nothing with any of these ideas.
Clunky Found Footage Substitutes Brief, Clumsily Edited Gore for Story and Scares
As June 9 limps through its repetitive story, Conway succeeds at crafting a handful of suspenseful scenes. In particular, a dare that takes one character into the movie’s isolated cabin offers a genuine adrenaline rush. Rather than following this scene up with increasingly tense scenarios, Conway puts the brakes on to recycle more pointless banter among his characters before a confusingly edited lead-up to the big climax. And if June 9 has any potential appeal to horror fans its the extremely graphic fate of its characters.
One death elicits the kind of discomfort that old exploitation flicks specialized in.
True to its found footage format, Conway cheap, 70’s style effects that are certainly grisly. While some deaths are choppily edited and quick, Conway allows the audience to witness a couple of extended executions that should disturb even hardened horror fans. One death elicits the kind of discomfort that old exploitation flicks specialized in. So June 9 offers horror fans a trade-off. After over an hour of filler, Conway clumsily delivers what is an unnerving conclusion. Is 10 minutes of grotesque violence with no story payoff worth it? That’s for you to decide.
June 9 An Ugly, Unimaginative Slog of Found Footage
Interestingly, June 9 shares DNA with another found footage oddity, Megan is Missing. Both movies released with little to no fanfare, though TikTok has inexplicably revived Megan is Missing. Each of these movies drags their respective heels with plodding, uninspired stories. And June 9 and Megan is Missing revel in disturbingly violent final acts. If Megan is Missing is more shocking, June 9 is slower and burdened by convoluted storytelling. Let’s just hope TikTok doesn’t give us a June 9 revival.