No description available for this title. — Item Type: DVD Movie — Item Rating: R — Street Date: 09/02/03 — Wide Screen: yes — Director Cut: no — Special Edition: no — Language: ENGLISH — Foreign Film: noSubtitles: no — Dubbed: no — ... more »Full Frame: no
Brandy W. (Brandy) from ZANESVILLE, OH Reviewed on 6/8/2009...
I love this movie; it is scary especially with the lights off and it is the kind of movie that is very believable. The movie was actually filmed in an old insane asylum (which was unfortunately demolished a few years ago) that is said to be haunted in real life. I also read in an article that the actors experienced some strange things while filming this movie which I think makes it even creepier. I recommend this movie if you are into movies about the paranormal.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Number nine...number nine...
C. Fletcher | California | 04/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Take "The Shining" and the better parts of "The Blair Witch Project," let them go k-i-s-s-i-n-g up in a tree, and "Session 9" is what you'll get. I can't say enough good things about this movie. It's the best-made, most atmospheric, genuinely creepiest horror movie I've seen in a long, long time. It's the kind of movie that restores your faith in a whole genre, making up for every bad teen horror film and mindless sequel you might've sat through in the last few years. What can I say? "Session 9" is the fleck of gold you hope against hope to catch gleaming amid the broken rocks and sand at the bottom of your pan.Directed by Brad Anderson ("Next Stop Wonderland"), "Session 9" tells the story of a team of six asbestos abatement workers hired to clean out in one week's time the deserted Danvers Mental Hospital in Massachusettes. The film was shot onsite in the historic red-bricked monster of a building once known as the Danvers Lunatic Asylum. There's no shortage of creepy atmosphere at hand, and the film-makers use it to their purpose, slowly bringing to boil a tale of escalating interpersonal frictions and dizzying madness."Session 9" works on many levels. On the surface, it's a taught thriller, offering more than a few jump-out-of-your seat scares; it's also an interesting character study of six men thrown together under high-pressure conditions. The acting is all top-notch, but Peter Mullen and David Caruso are particularly good as the boss and foreman of the asbestos team. At its heart, "Session 9" is a compelling psychology tapestry, woven together from haunted voices, spooky sounds, and rich visual metaphor.From the opening scenes where the team tours the massive building, it's pretty obvious that Brad Anderson didn't miss the day in film school when they studied Stanley Kubrick. The prominence of slow, wide tracking shots, ironic daylight, and place-as-character motifs are all strongly reminiscent of The Shining." So is much of the storyline. But "Session 9" is more than just a "Shining" knock-off. It slowly builds its own character and atmosphere, managing to create something original, modern, and truly scary. If you're a fan of great horror films and have begun to worry that they don't even try to make them anymore, please see "Session 9.""
The REAL Danvers Mental Hospital,MA-Pioneers Of The LOBOTOMY
Sheila Chilcote-Collins | Collinswood, Van Wert, OH USA | 03/22/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Danvers Mental Hospital is a REAL, honest-to-goodness asylum in Massachusetts that pioneered and perfected the frontal lobotomy. Built in the 1850's and closed in the mid-1980's due to lack of state funding, this movie is filmed entirely(camcorder style)in the once crowded (with over 2500 patients) & still to this day, horribly sinister asylum. I must say, that the undisputed STAR OF THIS FILM is the ASYLUM, itself. The cast does a better than average job in delivering real characters, however... A group of Hazmat workers are hired to accomplish the task of asbestos removal in the gargantuan hospital. Gordon, the crew boss, promises that the job will be finished in 7 days. Each crew member will receive 10 LARGE as a bonus once they meet the deadline, which, no matter how many eerie, odd & unexplained things start to happen in the asylum and to the workers, the promise of the money keeps them all to their appointed task. This movie is filmed very effectively a la Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" style. That is to say, each day of the week is stated, a shot of the asylum is shown & then the day is filmed. This is a frequently used tactic that screenwriters/directors use to build a sense of foreboding, and BOY, DOES IT EVER WORK in this film. Great cinematography & a really frighteningly strange musical score help to build the sense of inducing madness that this film makes you feel. It also has borrowings of "The Sixth Sense" inasmuch, clues are given throughout the film so that you may figure out for yourself, (if you are paying close attention) what oddities and malevolent forces are at work in the asylum & in the plot. You will experience what REALLY "Lives in the Weak and Wounded..." I guarantee it! If you liked the plot twists in Sixth Sense, the madness of The Shining, or the otherworldly spirits that inhabited Stir Of Echos, you will enjoy Session 9!"
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 09/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Very few films from Hollywood rate as truly creepy or horrifying. I can think of a few off the top of my head, the best being Stanley Kubrick's terrifying adaptation of Stephen King's "The Shining." The George C. Scott vehicle "The Changeling" is capable of striking a few chilly chords, as is the intensely unsettling British made for television version of "The Woman in Black" (not Hollywood, I know, but it counts in the general sense of scary movies). Obviously, a few more are floating around out there, with the most recent addition to this select list being Brad Anderson's 2001 film "Session 9." Here's a film that completely snuck in under my radar. I don't know if it had a theatrical release three years ago, but if it did I never heard a word about it. Since I don't go to the movie theater on a regular basis, preferring instead to enjoy all types of cinema on DVD in the comfort of my home, perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that I heard nothing about Anderson's picture. But after watching this creepfest, I figured SOMEONE would have told me something about "Session 9." Maybe a friend did; I was quite busy with school back in 2001 and didn't have as much time to watch and talk about films as I do now.
The plot outline here is rather simple-at least initially. A hazardous waste company run by Gordon Fleming (Peter Mullan) accepts a contract to remove asbestos in the decrepit Danvers building. It's a big job, one of the biggest this little company has ever had, but Fleming's financial and personal life is in a bit of a pickle and he really needs the work. Against the better judgment of his co-worker Phil (David Caruso), Gordon promises to finish the job in one week instead of two or three. His promise is incredible considering he only has himself, Phil, Mike (Stephen Gevedon), Hank (Josh Lucas), and Jeff (Brendan Sexton III) to help with the assignment. These guys are good, but are they good enough to finish this massive undertaking? Perhaps, but as the work week progresses issues arise that cast grave doubts on completing the task. For one thing Fleming starts acting weird, and not in an amusing way. He's distant and spends a lot of time fussing around with his cell phone. The behavior of the boss exacerbates divisions between Phil and Hank, divisions started some time before when Hank wooed away Phil's wife. Too, Mike has his issues. He's a smart guy who dropped out of law school and has since drifted aimlessly through life. As for Jeff, he's just trying to learn the job and make a little money at his uncle's business.
The whole situation rapidly deteriorates once Mike discovers a series of tape recordings in a room in the basement. These recordings consist of interviews conducted by the hospital staff with Mary Hobbes, a patient who suffered from a multiple personality disorder. Mike becomes fascinated with the weird, eerie voices on the old reels, and sneaks away from work whenever he can to listen to them. In the meantime, strange noises in the hospital start distracting the other workers. Then Hank disappears after discovering a cache of coins and other trinkets in the basement. Perhaps something not of this world inhabits the dark recesses of this depressing building. Perhaps somebody or something means to do great harm to Gordon, Phil, Mike, Hank, and Jeff. Or maybe it's all in their heads. One thing is for sure: danger lurks around every corner, nothing is as it seems, and the end is sure to deliver bloody shocks in a way not apparent until well into the film.
Brad Anderson did a couple of several very smart things with "Session 9." First, he chose an amazingly creepy location for the film, the abandoned and run down Danvers State Insane Asylum in Massachusetts. This building reeks of doom and gloom, and Anderson's camera captures the wide-open spaces of the wards as effectively as it peeks into the dank, dark recesses of the basement tunnels and rooms. Occasionally, the camera zooms over the edifice from high above so we get an idea of the sheer immensity of this structure. Second, and most importantly, Anderson hired a cast of great actors to fill critical roles. The standout here is probably Caruso, an actor I've never had an affinity for in his other roles. In "Session 9" the actor's seriousness and increasing concern as the weirdness becomes too much to bear carries a ring of truth. You could see a real person doing the things Caruso's character does. Mullan's good too, and he's downright ominous when the final revelation emerges in the end. What doesn't work as well is a conclusion that's too pat and, frankly, somewhat confusing. What exactly happened at Danvers? What do the nine session tapes have to do with the final disaster? Is there any connection between the institution and the actions of the characters? "Session 9" raises more questions than answers.
The DVD contains many extras. A commentary track, an alternate ending, deleted scenes, and a featurette help provide a few clues to this enigmatic film. Although I scratched my head at the ending, "Session 9" is a film every horror fan will want to watch. The filmmakers throw buckets of atmosphere at you, the soundtrack recalls the fractured, noisy music of "The Shining," and there's even a bit of gore for the sauce lovers to savor. I would definitely watch Anderson's film again, and probably ought to since this type of film usually reveals more answers on subsequent viewings. Give it a shot. "
Brad Anderson does a haunted house movie with the lights on
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 12/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The most audacious element of "Session 9" is that it takes place during the day time and while there are some moments involving shadows there is only a brief bit of one sequences that actually ends up in the dark. You do no think of bright light as being an omnipresent element in what is essentially a haunted house film, but director Brad Anderson clearly wants to scare his audience when the lights are on. Anderson used to drive past the enormous Danvers Mental Hospital in Massachusetts (built in the 1887s, condemned in 1984, and closed in 1992), which inspired the script by Anderson and his co-writer Stephen Gevedon (who plays Mike). In that regard "Session 9" reminds me of Herke Harvey's classic low-budget horror film, "Carnival of Souls." But the location that inspired Anderson's film is central to the entire film, and not simply the setting for the climax.
Gordon Fleming (Peter Mullan) shows up with his Hazmat Elimination Company crew to remove asbestos from the abandoned mental hospital. This is dangerous enough work, where the type of music you play on your boom box could literally be dangerous to your health, but of course asbestos will be the least of their worries. There is a big bonus involved if the job is done in a week, and while Phil (David Caruso) has his doubts, they have to try. The rest of the crew consists of Hank (Josh Lucas), whom Phil does not trust for a lot of reasons, Jeff (Brendan Sexton III), a nephew who is new to the work, and Mike (Gevedon), who is well-read enough to provide the necessary exposition regarding the place they are working on at lunch time.
In real world history the hospital is supposed built on the site of the house of Jonathan Hathorne, one of the most fanatical judges of the witchcraft trials of Massachusetts. Originally the Danvers State Hospital was an attempt to treat patients with delusions by bringing them to beautiful surroundings and fresh air. But by the start of the 20th century too many patients and not enough money led to a radical shift in treatment and procedures at Danvers so that shock treatments, hydrotherapy, and lobotomies were used to control the patients (although it is not true that Danvers was where lobotomies were invented). Once abandoned, the giant structure quickly gained a reputation for being haunted, no doubt by the ghosts of the abused patients.
Mike tells of a more specific horror story, and we know from other horror films to always pay attention to the back-story. It seems that once upon a time there was a young girl who was being treated who told an incredible story about very wicked things, except that what she said happened could not have happened. The story is told by Mike to explain why the place closed down, but we know better. That story contains clues as to what is going on, especially when Mike stumbles across the reel-to-reel tapes of the actual sessions (guess how many there were). While everybody is racing to meet the deadline, Mike is spending his time listening to the sessions of the Doctor and the young girl. As the others explore the building, there are other disturbing remnants of what used to happen in this place, and the fact that such things are discovered in the light of day does not lessen their impact.
"Session 9" is certainly a stylish horror film, which is not to suggest it is devoid of substance. But like so many of its kindred spirits I find the payoff to be less than satisfying (which is a complaint I have about "Apocalypse Now" as well, so take that for what it is worth). Still, when the greatest sin in a horror film is that you see the end coming, I do not think most viewers will be able to figure out how everything fits together, although they should figure out the "who." The atmosphere of "Session 9" is on target, mainly because unlike a lot of contemporary horror films, there is no attempt to force it by letting the music do all the heavy lifting and there are no special effects to induce stomach churning and worse. "Session 9" is interested in true terror and not the inelegant gross out. That alone makes it worth watching, even if turning out all the lights does little to enhance the experience."
4.5 "I Live in the Weak and the Wounded".
Darth J | Somewhere In Time | 10/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'Session 9' is a 2002 movie directed by Brad Anderson based on a screenplay by Stephen Gevedon(who also plays Mike). It stars Peter Mullen, David Caruso, Josh Lucas, and Brandan Sexton III.
After a short, but very erie intro, we are introduced to Gordon(Mullen), an owner of a small hasmat asbestos removal company. As the sound fades in we here Gordon's second in command Phil(Caruso)speaking about how worn out Gordon looks, as well as the job they are currently bidding on. They have come to bid on a sizable job; removing Asbestos tiles from the massive Danvers State Psychiatric Hospital. Desperately needing work to support his wife and new baby, Gordon garantees that He can pull of the job in two(then changes to one)week. He gets the job and brings in the staff. As we are introduced to his crew, we get a strong sence that each person is dealing with their own personal issues. As the movie progresses, strange occurances start to occur; Is it supernatural, or is it each memeber cracking under the stress of the job and personal issues?
'Session 9' is one of those inde movies that comes out of nowhere and takes genre fans by suprise. Over the last few years it has been recognized by genre fans and will most certainly be remembered as one of the best supernatural/psychological thrillers of the 00's.
The plot is fairly simple yet ambiguous; a hasmat team removing asbestos experiance strange occurances. However, there is a rising tension that leads the viewer to question whether it's a supernatural movie or a movie about mental instability. 'Simon'(explained later)is very ambiguous; is he in someone's head, or is he a type of malevolent 'genius loci'? Ultimately it's left up to the viewer to figure out. Similarities can be made to movies such as 'The Changeling', 'The Shining', and 'Don't Look Now', However, as the movie progresses, the film developes it's own unique and haunting identity.
The acting is definetly a strong point. The acting is so good, it brings a false sence of realism. Caruso, Mullen, Gevedon, Lucas(Hank), and Sexton(Jeff) all bring a very real sence of real people with real issues dealing with a harsh job. All the characters are well defined and acted and although vegue, we are given clues to what is going on in each person's head. Having a minimal cast, the acting is important to keeping the story going while keeping the tension rising at an escalating pace.
The dialoge is centered around mental instability which ties heavily in with the plot. Whether it's Gordon trying to keep his buisness, Phil losing his girlfriend to co-worker Hank, Mike trying to figure out his future, or Jeff's nyctophobia; Every character has issues they're dealing with that is amplified by the stress of the job. This is heavily reflected by the dialoge. One of the highlights and namesake of the film is a group of reels that Mike finds on his break. As the film progresses, Mike becomes engrossed by the content. The tapes are a series of '9 sessions' of a former paitent named Mary who spent most of her life, and died at Danvers. Apparently, Mary suffered from Multiple Personality Disorder(now called Dissociative Identity Disorder), and was involved in very traumatic events as a child. The events left her so severely scarred, she had developed three different personalities that reveal themselves, and what happend over the course of the 9 sessions.
The editing is perfect. The movie is 97 min. and never drags. Right from the first frame there is an escalating tension with the characters individualy as well as a group, and with the building itself. Danvers was a real mental hospital that had been in decay since the mid 80's and the way the movie was shot captures this frighteningly well. You'll see alot of slow tracking shots intercut with wide-angle shots that almost makes the building become a character. There are several shot that implies what life was like for the paitents, and it's not all good. The way the tapes are edited into the movie is flawless. As the movie progresses we are introduced to the three personalities of Mary; The Princess, Billy, and enigmatic Simon. The introduction and story of each personality is placed for a reason that adds a rising tension and creepiness. In a few scenes, we see pictures of Mary, and the look in her eyes WILL send a chill up your back, and portrays mental instability in a frighteningly realistic way; So effective with so little!
The cinematography is a big part of what makes this movie great. It has slightly gritty look, but with these kind of movies, it brings a 'you are there' feeling that is a major part of the realism. It was shot on location in Mass. at the Danvers State Mental Hospital(since torn down). The entire building was in a severely delapitated state which only adds to the creepiness and compliments the story. The gritty look with the deteriorating hospital brings a 'Silent Hill' vibe to the film, and enyone who has played the games will instantly know what I'm talking about. This can easily be scene in the cover art.
This movie is low on gore and violence, and high on creepiness, tension, and suspence. For those who like psychological thrillers and supsence, this movie is a diamond. The only reason I gave this movie a 4.5 instead of a 5 is because of the 'finale' as well as the end, It really creeped me out and left me thinking LONG after the movie was over. It effected me so much that in repeat viewings the ending actually makes me feel physically bad, that's the best way I can say it without spoilers. If you can prepare yourself for a gutpunch of an ending, this movie from the opening frame to the closing music is deeply compelling as well as unbelievably creepy.
For fans of supernatural/psychological thrillers, this ranks up there with 'The Shining' and gets the highest recommendation!