Movie: *** out of 5
Article first published as DVD Review: Director L. Gustavo Cooper’s ‘June’ on Blogcritics.
Telekinesis is nothing new in film. The first films that probably spring to mind are Stephen King’s Carrie and Firestarter. There have been both good and bad along the way: from Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, Zapped!, and Patrick. They aren’t going anywhere, which won’t come as much of a surprise when it’s usually saddled into the horror genre.
With that in mind, comes director L. Gustavo Cooper’s June,
which tries to shoehorn in a pseudo coming of age tale, with mixed
results. Armed with better-than-average special effects and a game cast,
it doesn’t breathe new life into the sub-genre, but anyone who may find
the synopsis interesting at least won’t feel like they’ve wasted their
We learn in an opening flashback, and through narration by Lily
Anderson (Victoria Pratt), that when she was a teenager, her baby was
used in a cult ritual, trying to fuse her with the powerful mythological
“aer.” Now, poor June (Kennedy Brice) is a 9-year-old foster child,
moved from home to home due to her incredible telekinetic powers that
usually leave the homes in pieces.
Eventually, June is found out by social worker Victor Emmanuel (Eddie
Jemison) and brought to live with Lily and her husband Dave (Casper Van
Dien). Victor makes sure June knows this may be her last chance to
finally find a home that’s a good fit for her. But neither June, nor
Dave, know that June is finally going to have to face her inner demons
to discover who she really is.
RLJ Entertainment brings June to DVD, and the image looks
reasonably theatrical considering the low budget direct to video launch.
The special effects sometimes start to show their seams, but thankfully
those instances are kept to a minimum with the bulk of the action
revolving around flying objects. The audio also keeps the atmospherics
in check with said items panning from speaker to speaker with a fair
amount of resonating bass. The ’80s-styled synth score never drowns out
the dialogue, making sure you always hear what characters are either
whispering or yelling.
For such a low budget feature, it sure comes with plenty of extras. “The Elements of June”
is broken up into five features: “Cast” (3:23), “Make-up” (2:07),
“Music” (5:01), “Producing” (3:30), and “Making Of” (6:37). For anyone
interested in the process of making a low budget film look better than
it should, the cast and crew do a great job of showing how they pulled
it off. “The History of Aer” (3:11) is a mini faux-documentary with
interviews of believers, skeptics, and “scientists.” And finally,
there’s a collection of five “Social Services Files for June” (8:36)
with a play all option: Ramon and Leticia Satani (1:45), Howard and Lily
Dwyer (2:06), Paul and Trisha Patel (1:24), Joe and Monica Carter
(1:34), and Candy and Tim Williams (1:47).
June isn’t the kind of film that’s looking to win awards, or
develop a cult following, but it never tries to be anything more than it
is either. It’s a slice-of-life feature about a little girl trying to
find her place in the world — even if she usually manages to destroy
most of it in the process. The cast is way above average — particularly
Van Dien who is almost unrecognizable in his bearded manliness — and
lend a gravity to the proceedings, even if one character decision at the
end feels more like just another crank of the plot mechanics wheel
turning. Interested parties will find plenty to like here, just don’t
expect any kind of modern masterpiece of mayhem. With expectations in
check, audiences will have a good time with June, available now on DVD.