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Monday, October 06, 2014

Session 9 (2001) - Brad Anderson

Session 9 is a psychological horror movie that stars the weird looking guy from CSI, David Caruso and a ragtag group of actors that are nearly forgettable. Aside from Peter Mullan. He rocks. This confusing feature was made in 2001 and, according to the director, made specifically to be shot in the Danvers State Hospital. He had written the movie with the hopes of being able to shoot there. Needless to say, most of this movie takes place in the Hospital itself. 

The movie is about a group of Asbestos removers that take on the rough task of removing two weeks worth of Asbestos in one week. The lead character, Gordon, seems to be going through a really tough patch mentally and needs this job to work out. One thing leads to another and eventually the creepy nature of the Hospital shines though haunting the group and making waves. 

Each member of the group seems to have their own thing going on. However, the subplots do nothing but confuse the already thin story-line. Hank, the kooky, rebellious, blue-collar type finds a load of silver coins and treasures hidden in a brick wall. Meanwhile, back home he is having a tough time with his girlfriend (who happens to be the ex-girlfriend of David Caruso). Mike, the nondescript brainy member of the group, finds a bunch of  tapes of sessions with a former inmate named Mary Hobbes. Then there's Phil, David Caruso. He's a burn out and has recently lost his girlfriend to Hank. He has taken up to smoking pot. Like, lots of it. 

The movie's really confusing. It's fun to watch and has it's really creepy moments but it tries to do much more than it actually can. Like I said above, the subplots are horrible. They are a weak attempt to make the story move forward and do little to help with understanding the main plot. Instead the subplots just stand in the way. The cinematography is jarring. It has that ultra-realistic, pan & scan type camera work that makes everything look so cheap. A quick Google search reveals that this movie uses a 24p HD digital camera that films at 24-frames per second. Riviting. 

I recommend this movie to anyone that doesn't like the blood and guts type horror. This movie has a very tiny amount of brutality. Most of the actual murder takes place off camera. The twist-y plot is fun but becomes too entangled in it's own confusion. It's cloudy and muddy but is a decent watch if you don't have anything else. 


  • Actor David Caruso reports in the official Production Notes that he saw "something pass my window" when shooting inside the Bonner Medical Building of Danvers State Hospital. "I didn't want to tell anybody, because people would start looking at me strangely..."
  • The scene shot outside Danvers when Bill ('Paul Guilfoyle') and Gordon (Peter Mullan) are discussing the bid for the asbestos abatement job, apparently a student pilot was flying circles overhead for about 3 hours. This forced the talent and crew to film the sequence in spurts starting when the plane was furthest away and stopping as it grew nearer.
  • A subplot was filmed involving a homeless woman who lives in the asylum. In the original ending, she witnesses all the murders and then kills Gordon. According to the DVD commentary, this subplot was removed because test audiences became confused, thinking she was actually Mary (the voice on the tape)

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