Studio: RLJ Entertainment
Director: L. Gustavo Cooper
Writer: Sharon Y. Cobb, L. Gustavo Cooper
Producer: Gregor Habsburg, Jacquelyn Frisco, L. Gustavo Cooper, James Fler, Michael Paszt, Andrew Thomas Hunt, Duane A. Sikes
Stars: Kennedy Brice, Victoria Pratt, Eddie Jemison, Lance Nichols, Casper Van Dien
A young girl develops supernatural powers after an occult ritual joins her to a malevolent darkness.
For critics, a frustrating side effect of average movies is that they open themselves up to average writing about those movies. Film reviews are often only as entertaining to read as a movie is good or as it is bad. When the material covered is merely mediocre, there usually isn’t too much to work with in terms of getting creative with a critique.
One could argue it is a poor musician who blames the instrument. Another could counter you can’t give an artist a baseball bat and expect a portrait to be painted.
That is a long-winded disclaimer about the reasonable certainty that this review of the middling movie “June” could be a bit of a snoozer. Pessimistic people might say the same about the film. Optimistic others would more accurately state that there isn’t anything inherently off about “June,” there just isn’t anything exceptional about it warranting much of a remark.
As an infant, June is surrounded by candles and cultists while her parents present her for a ceremony set to bond baby with the dark demon Aer. Things go less swimmingly than planned when June’s mother has a change of heart and slashes the priestess’ throat mid-ritual. A paranormal portal explodes, sending cultists flying and leaving the incantation incomplete while a teenage girl escapes cradling baby June.
Nine years later finds June living with a trailer trash couple not far removed from the Myers family of Rob Zombie’s “Halloween.” You wouldn’t like June when she is angry. She doesn’t turn green, but she does develop abnormal abilities with Aer’s aid, and those abilities have a nasty way of boomeranging bullying behavior back at June’s teasing tormenters.
Another round of supernatural shockwaves sends more bodies to the ground, so June’s cagey case worker shuffles the girl off to foster family #2. This time, June trades up from Tic Tac Tim and his hooker wife Candy for the middle class suburbia of Dave and Lily Anderson, a darling and doting couple chomping at the bit for a child to call their own. June can’t wait for picket fence perfection, however, Aer has more insidious ideas.
It seems the idyllic Andersons have unknowingly signed on to care for two personalities instead of one. Worse, Aer’s outbursts through June have attracted the attention of the original cult. And its remaining members have designs to finally complete the ritual that will bond June to her dark side once and for all.
By now it should be evident that this supernatural story of adoption gone wrong aims to emulate elements of “The Omen” and “Firestarter,” among others. There’s even a riff on the menstrual period scene from “Carrie” and a musical score borrowing a bit of its melody from Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” theme from “The Exorcist.” For the most part, “June” succeeds in hitting these familiar notes, even though its amalgamation leaves little room to showcase anything that hasn’t been seen, heard, smelt, touched, or tasted before.
A screwdriver to the script could stand to tighten story nuts and bolts. Why was June placed with an incompetent hillbilly family in the first place? What is significant about waiting nine years to give the incomplete ritual another go? “By the way, my parents and I once belonged to a secret cult that opened a portal and summoned a demon” is something that never came up over the course of a certain character’s conversations?
Being bothered by plot points isn’t worth the effort. “June” never pretends to be a genre-changing original or an epic endeavor of “pay attention” proportions. It aims to be a simply suspenseful scary movie, which it is, albeit one where beige fights with vanilla as the most fitting way to describe it.
Finding a flattering word for “June” that doesn’t sound like a backhanded compliment is challenging. “Competent” and “serviceable” come to mind first, though neither term has the heft to whip up excitement or enthusiasm. Acting is good, effects are okay, and textbook screenplay structure makes “June” fine enough filler for midweek entertainment programming. Like the foster families who find June though, just don’t plan on becoming attached, as you’re unlikely to miss her once she is gone.
Review Score: 60