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CinemaDump's avatar

CinemaDump

Brad Anderson appears to have fallen on harder times these days. After two successful romantic comedies in Next Stop Wonderland and Happy Accidents, he was able to independently make Session 9 which although was a flop at the box office, it was pretty well received critically and has become a bit of a cult movie since then. The Machinist was his next big project followed by Transsiberian. Anderson appears to have now settled down in shooting episodes for TV shows as well as directing mediocre horrors or thrillers like Vanishing on 7th Street and The Call.

There's nothing wrong with doing TV as he is doing work for some pretty respectable TV shows anyway. I'd just like to see some good movies out of him too like The Machinist and Session 9. Anderson was inspired to do S9 because of the Danvers State Mental Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts which he passed by every day. One of the big reasons why Session 9 works as a horror movie is because not only is it just set in an asylum, it is set and filmed in the actual Danvers State Mental Hospital. Let me tell you, it's as creepy a place as they come.

Synopsis

The Danvers State Mental Hospital was closed in 1985 but is kept around due to historical reasons or such. Gordon Fleming (Peter Mullan) makes a bid for the removal of the asbestos in the place and absolutely needs the job or he risks losing his business and going bankrupt. He's got a wife and newborn to support, so he guarantees the work done in a week which in turn guarantees him a nice bonus. Despite the creepy atmosphere of the asylum, Gordon and his team are eager to finish the job and get the bonus.

Review

Brad Anderson fleshes out his characters nicely instead of making them simple cardboard cutouts who get scared. There are conflicts between them but they aren't dumbly added to just make some drama. Each of them have their motivations and their problems which creates a nice web of goings on that has to be deciphered since nothing is cut-and-dried for you. I'm a fan of being challenged and while Session 9 isn't the most complex movie ever made, it's nice compared to regular horror schlock

Session 9 isn't even all that terrifying. So why do I like it? It's really up there in terms of the creepiness factor. There's such an atmosphere of creepiness that permeates just about every scene, even those outside of the asylum which are rare. Events mostly take place during the daytime which you'd think would make it easier to watch but it doesn't have that effect. Not at all. There's just something about the asylum that makes me really uncomfortable. You don't know what is waiting around a corner and Brad Anderson keeps you guessing until the end.

Session 9 isn't a found footage film but it almost feels like it is. It gets very close with its characters who seem to be very grounded in reality in terms of how they act and how they converse. I suppose it's hard to take David Caruso seriously now but this movie came out before CSI alright! Peter Mullan plays his role very convincingly although there is some unevenness from the rest of the cast.

This is a horror movie that keeps you trying to figure out what is going on and still leaves you with questions unanswered as the credits roll. I love it when that happens and although it is a little rough around the edges, Session 9 is worth seeing. It's not even that scary but it makes up for that with its infinitely creepy setting. I won't be setting foot in an asylum for some time, that's for sure.

Rating

6.5/10
3 years 11 months ago
Oneironaut's avatar

Oneironaut

Didn't like it. It doesn't really do much and leaves it up to the viewer to make something out of it from the (very) little information that was presented.

Problem was that I just didn't care about anything in the movie - the characters, the "mystery", nada.

Some creepy shots, sure, but there was no impact. Plenty of yawns throughout, wouldn't recommend.
6 years 3 months ago
americanadian25's avatar

americanadian25

Could've been great, but settles for good.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4uPhpORKPA
1 year 8 months ago
Siskoid's avatar

Siskoid

Session 9 is cheap at 1.5 M$, but looks cheaper still. The video look, variable acting and bad looping make this story about asbestos removers cracking up while working in a disused asylum - a great location that seemed to insist someone write a script about it and shoot a film there - difficult to get into at first. It's not unclever, however, with the killer perhaps obvious from the start, but many red herrings making you lose sight of him anyway. As an additional layer, one of the men becomes obsessed with tapes recorded during some creepy therapy sessions, which play in parallel to the contemporary story (and these are the most effective thing in the movie), and which may give you yet another interpretation at the end, one that's perhaps more far-fetched than you'd expect, but that nonetheless fits the facts. If you're into it, don't despair at the TV quality and enjoy it as an unfolding double mystery.
2 years 9 months ago
samfenn's avatar

samfenn

Didn't like this. Certainly not scary. Eerie at times, but really not worth the hour and forty minutes you put into it.
4 years 8 months ago
MonsieurA's avatar

MonsieurA

I thought it was a decent movie. You definitely have to be in the right mood to watch it though. I can understand why some people wouldn't like upon their first viewing.
6 years 6 months ago
Anahkiasen's avatar

Anahkiasen

It's not that it requires a brain, I have one and did understand the movie.
Yet even then it's still came out as pretty average to me, not that original and yeah, although the direction shines in a lot of scenes, the photography comes out as amateur and gives the whole movie a certain "home movie" feel that isn't acceptable in a 2001 movie.
Also David Caruso seemed to overact on a lot of scenes too (« NO, FUCK YOUUU ») and that didn't help.
7 years ago
pearls's avatar

pearls

disappointing film.
7 years 9 months ago
FrankHowley's avatar

FrankHowley

laaaaaaaaame
8 years 1 month ago
Phantasmagoria0's avatar

Phantasmagoria0

Perhaps my favorite horror film of all time
7 years 3 months ago
tiagomelo's avatar

tiagomelo

Crappy actors, bad photography...
8 years 1 month ago
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