Tuesday, January 26

Session 9 (2001)

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Session 9 is another one of those sadly overlooked psychological chillers that just slipped through the radar and out of sight. But in spite of never even reaching UK cinemas it has still managed to gain a small following of genuinely enthusiastic fans of the movie.

Comparisons to the psychological and haunting tones of the Blair Witch Project (released a couple of years before) were prominent in the marketing and quite probably the execution of the film. Something, which you would of thought, makes it more of a profitable project. And as previously mentioned unfortunately for director Brad Anderson (whose current project is the long anticipated Christian Bale thriller, The Machinist) the whole thing just passed us all by.

Gordon Fleming and his asbestos abatement crew begin work on their latest job at an abandoned insane asylum, the Danvers state hospital. With a mere one week to completion and a hefty bonus if completed on time the team, full of very uneasy characters, try to work in and around the condemned premises. All goes pretty smoothly up until wannabe lawyer Mike discovers and plays the session tapes from a former patient with multiple personalities.

Hauntings and possessions go hand in hand like zombies and comedy. And with an explosion of more in-your-head orientated shockers in the late 90’s Session 9 certainly stands out from some other poor efforts to date. Again, most of what plays out of screen and that feeling of ‘what I thought I saw’ is very prominent in most of the more intense scenes. There is ghostly goings on which at first seem unexplainable, in fact for many bits and pieces towards the end it all seems a bit all over the place and trying to figure out what’s going on yourself is a bit of an effort in its own right. But all events and explanations are eventually made.

The performances are decent and character development is handled well by the performers. The standout being Scottish actor Peter Mullan, who plays team leader Gordon. Peter is a genuinely great actor anyway but here he shows great character development and some amazingly acted scenes.

The music, background sound, and even the subtle twist and voice shifting on the session tapes them self give a lot to the overall eerie atmosphere. The absolute horror find of the century has to be the abandoned Danvers building, purposely in mind during the script stages. It has an absolutely terrifying quality just from an aesthetic point of view.

Session 9 is a well crafted chiller. Excellent performances and above par editing. I still feel it lets itself down slightly towards the end but its not majorly disappointing. The sound and visual treats on occasion are wonderfully executed and can shock successfully. It’s a continual intense situation that would put chills down the spine of anyone. You would never catch me working, sleeping, or let alone driving past this place on my own!

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