Archive for the ‘abandoned asylum’ Tag

Session 9 (2001)   2 comments

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When an asbestos abatement crew, led by Gordon Fleming (Peter Mullan) gets a gig to clean up an abandoned mental asylum, they think they’ve struck it rich.  Promised a $10,000 bonus if they can finish in a week, the team of Phil (David Caruso), Mike (Stephen Gevedon), Hank (Josh Lucas), and Jeff (Brendan Sexton, III) dig right in.  As Gordon and his team work, each of them reacts to the pressure of the deadline differently.

“Gordon, are you in there?”

Gordon, we learn, owns the company and is under a great deal of financial strain.  He’s also a new dad and hasn’t slept well since his daughter was born.  Phil, Gordon’s right hand man, questions Gordon’s accepting the short timeline.  Phil’s trouble is that his girlfriend just left him for Hank, making the friends’ relationship a tiny bit awkward.  Mike, a law school dropout, is highly intelligent, but at sea about his future.  Jeff, Gordon’s nephew, is young and a little goofy, but earnest.  He clearly wants to impress his uncle.  Now that we’ve met the men, we understand them better when they start to unravel.


“Here, let me get that eyelash.”

Filmed at the former Danvers State Mental Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts, SESSION 9 has a great, creepy vibe and the setting, complete with scary treatment rooms, peeling paint, and puddles of stagnant water works a treat.


Director, Brad Anderson, has a talent for showing us just enough to follow the story, but not quite enough to predict how it will end.  There are some lovely red herrings and the dialogue makes sense.  Anderson and Stephen Gevedon wrote the screenplay and the cast even gets the accents right.  Uta Briesewitz’s cinematography kept the eerie mood even without 392 jump scares.  Music by Climax Golden Twins sets the dark tone of the film well.  I had never heard of them, but their strange, atmospheric music is perfect in SESSION 9.

Director, Brad Anderson might have watched THE HAUNTING once or twice.

I have wanted to see SESSION 9 for ages and I’m glad I finally did.  It’s a frightening horror tale with good acting and an intriguing story.  I wanted to know more.  It’s original, but not completely new and that’s all right.  In my notes I wrote, THE SHINING, but with asbestos.  While I can see comparisons, (days of the week on screen, evil place, etc…) it doesn’t diminish the effect of the film at all.  Paul Guilfoyle and Larry Fessenden round out the supporting cast.  Actually, the whole cast is made up of character actors.  Maybe that’s why I like it so much.  It’s a natural ensemble piece played by a talented ensemble.


Weird note:  Carson Daly (Mr. MTV) was the executive music producer.

Tonight on Club MTV…




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