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Session 9 is one of those low budget horror movies that slipped under the radar. It is a film that doesn’t easily fit into any one category. It does have some of the “Ten Little Indians” elements common in most slashers, yet it is far from a hack and slash film. The supernatural is hinted at, but it is not present enough to be considered a haunted house or ghost flick. It is almost a psychological thriller, but the movie relies too much on atmosphere to truly be a thrilling. So what is Session 9? A Creepy Little Movie.
Session 9 isn’t big on plot. The story is about 5 guys in a little company called Hazmat Elimination. They go into a building clear out all the asbestos, and get paid. In attempt to save his dying company with a big job, Gordon (the company owner) tells a contractor that his men can clean up the old Danvers State Mental Hospital in a week. The men start working at the Hospital, and as we all can guess with this being a horror movie and all, something happens. The mental states of our characters begin to wane, and insanity becomes a reality. Most of this movie is made with thick atmosphere and some truly remarkable shots. Scenes of insects outside the huge hospital contrasts well with the deep shadows that dwell inside this rundown Mental Hospital. Music and Sound takes precedent over dialog and the characters exist to feed the atmosphere, not to create 3 dimensional human beings.
The Danvers State Mental Hospital is not a cheap set created for this film. It is a real State Mental Hospital that has not been used in years and is rotting away. This really pushes the authentic feel that this movie oozes with. On its own, this Creepy old Hospital has atmosphere in droves. It is the most imposing building I have seen on film since The Overlook Hotel in Kubrick’s “The Shining”. Sound is also deeply important in Session 9. Throughout the film we hear recorded snippets of one of the former patients therapy sessions (Of course, these are not real recordings). The patient suffers from multiple personality syndrome, and the recordings are incredibly unsettling. The use of modulation on the voices give it the creepy and authentic feel of an old tape recording.
The film's performances fit it well. They are above average for a horror film. Like I said before, they are not thoroughly fleshed out, but this doesn’t mean they are completely cardboard either. They seem like people I have met in real life, but at the same time I don’t know them enough to truly care what happens to them. This lack of character development is something that is present in most horror movies. Thankfully this movie doesn’t treat its characters only as fodder for some big baddie, but it still leaves me thinking that this could have been a better film with a little more character exploration. So much of this movie is spent in the shadows, that I can see boredom setting in quickly for many of its potential viewers. Almost all of the action and explanation is left for the last 15 minutes, and the rest of this film centered on creepiness, not character or plot development. In its defense, it does a damn good job of being creepy. As for those last 15 minutes, they are not mind blowing, but they are awfully unsettling.
In closing, if you like your horror movies to be fast paced and packed with blood, guts, and jumps, steer away from this one. If you like your horror movies to slowly wrap you into an uncomfortable world, and leave you more perturbed than scared, this is a film for you. For me, the locale was worth the price of admission alone. 3 ˝ cans.
Added: Friday, May 06, 2005
Related Link: Session 9 at amazon.com
Language: eng[ Did you find this review helpful? Yes No ]
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