Director: T. Michael Conway
Cast: Jon Ray, Trevor Williams, Maggie Blazunas, Alasha Right
Bored with their Summer vacation, a group of high school friends from Ohio decide to spend a few days exploring Boston Mills, Ohio, nicknamed "Hell Town" because of the plethora of legends and supposed supernatural happenings that occur there, all while filming their antics, including playing practical jokes on the townsfolk, with a video camera. However, on June 9th, the kids realize just what stories surrounding Hell Town are true and pay a considerable price for their curiosity and boredom.
First and foremost, let's get the Blair Witch Project rip-off criticism immediately out in the open because the comparison are inevitable. Yes, June 9 is obviously heavily influenced by The Blair Witch Project; the implementation of the video camera, the shaky camera work, the exploring of a small town legend, the interviews with the townsfolk, and the frenzied climax that comes fast and furious. However, despite the immense similarities, this film separates itself from The Blair Witch Project enough so that it cannot be dismissed as a simple rip-off. While Blair Witch had a story to tell and was pretty straight-forward with its plot development, this film, for most of its running time, seems to be just a bunch of random scenes of the kids pulling pranks and conversing; there is nothing that drives the plot forward and it isn't until the final 10 minutes of the film that the purpose of the film becomes clear. On one hand this is a risky move because viewers will become bored with the first hour of the film because, literally, nothing happens with the exception of a few creepy scenes. On the other hand, it makes the film feel that much more real. Things start to get interesting in the final half hour when the kids finally really dig in and start exploring some of the locations attached to the various legends. There are some genuinely creepy, unsettling scenes, but the real pay off comes in the final minutes of the film. Those who were disappointed with the ending of The Blair Witch Project will certainly find this ending to be more satisfying, disturbing, and believable. This is certainly elevated in the fact that the gruesomeness occurs in broad daylight. There is certainly nothing ambiguous or confusing about the ending of this film. This film will not be for everyone simply because of the pacing, which is certainly the film's main problem and will be extremely tough for some to overlook. However, the final half hour of the film makes it worth it and the ending will stick with the viewer for a little while after the credits roll.
Fright Meter Grade:
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