I saw Session 9 for the first time many, many years ago. I remember liking it but I only saw it that once. Recently I've seen that people are STILL talking about it on the internet. So I had to see it again.
Watching it again after so many years is weird. First of all, I didn't know who the fuck any of these actors were. Now, I recognize all of them except the ?Irish?Scottish? dude, Gordon. Mullet-head Jeff is Warren, the CD stealer from Empire Records. He's basically the same punk-kid character, but there are scenes where he really shows some acting skills. I love the actor playing Mike, Stephen Gevedon. He's got such a great face. And, hello! He co-wrote Session 9 with director Brad Anderson. And Josh Lucas... well, he was just that dude in Sweet Home Alabama. But he's cute and funny, so I like him.
Anyway. Session 9 is the story of a group of five asbestos-removal men who go to do a week-long job at the abandoned Danvers State Mental Hospital. Tensions are high within this small group. The leader, Gordon, has apparently got some heavy personal stuff going on. Hank (Josh Lucas) and Phil (David Caruso) hate each other because Hank stole Phil's girlfriend. Strange things start to happen as one of the men discovers session tapes of a doctor interviewing a woman with multiple personalities and another of the men disappears.
|The doctor and Simon have the CREEPIEST voices, EVER.|
The center of the film is Gordon, who is very upset about something that happened with him and his wife and their new baby. As the truth unravels, so do the men. Trust breaks down, the guys start disappearing, and it's clear that one of them is the cause of all these strange things happening (can you guess who? It's really, really, really, really easy to figure out).
Why then all the crap about Mary Hobbes and her freaky ass vocal talents? Let's analyze this part of the story, shall we? Watch out for spoilers here.
Okay, so Mary was this little girl who killed her brother, Peter, and her parents. She was told to do so by one of her personalities, Simon, after her brother scared her and made her drop her new china doll. She was committed to Danvers and a doctor with a very creepy voice records his sessions with her as he tries to bring out her other personalities to find out what really happened that day. Princess is the innocent little girl, Billy is Mary's protector, and Simon, of course, is the bad one - an extremely malevolent version of the id.
|Hmmm, what's in the basement?|
The look of the film is not what you would expect. Setting is obviously a big part of the mood created. The Danvers hospital itself is described like a bat - one big section in the middle and two wings on either side. When we finally get a helicopter-shot of the hospital, it blows your mind the architecture of this place (and they were going to do the asbestos-removal in one week? I call shenanigans). But most of the scenes inside the hospital don't go how you would think. Bright sunlight is everywhere. We get a blown-out effect from the overhead lights. And there's hardly any music, and the music we do hear is very subtle. No pounding notes of terror, just a slightly eerie feeling. The whole movie also feels a little more real as it was shot on digital video instead of film.
I'm glad that Session 9 has received the popularity it has gotten through word-of-mouth. It's a nicely done psychological horror film with great actors and a setting that was made to be in a horror film. While the ending might be confusing to some, I felt it was the right ending for this story. Great movie.