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3.6 out of 5 stars
94
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 6 January 2004
The cover of the dvd was what drew me into it initialy, a solitary wheel chair at the end of a poorly lit corridoor (pretty much the signature shot of the film), how eerie. Basicaly Session 9 returns to the formula of ,arguably, the greatest horror films made (The Shining, The Haunting et al) by setting the entire movie in a large deserted location. (a hotel, an old mansion etc.) And this time it's a mental institution that closed down about ten years ago. It's huge and looming, the perfect setting.
The direction is spot on (in my opinion) sound overs and flash backs are utilised perfectly.. although maybe a particular scene is replayed a few too many times.. it is an important one though.
Ten minutes or so into the film and it really does deliver the same sort of psychological tension that the above classics do. You can feel something big coming. And it's not something like the typical scenes that characterise horror in the 80's to present day. It doesnt rely on shock moments, or hack and slash moments, instead it has some truly disturbing scenes that really are impressive. You'd be hard pressed to find any moments as chilling as the parts where we hear the tapes of an interview with a particular ex patient at the hospital. Absolutely terrific. There are other good moments, including the 'running from the dark' bit but I wont go into them. The film pretty much
sticks to the famous saying by Robert Wise (Director of 'the Haunting') "What you dont see is infinetly more frightening than what you do"
Unfortunatly however, this isnt a perfect ten. With such a good setting and build up plot, I felt this film had a lot more potential than what was produced in the end. Don't get me wrong, it's good, but it could have been so much better. The Ending is a tiny bit baffling really, but not totaly illogical and when you manage to peice together what's going on you'll wonder how it confused you in the first place. The good thing about the DVD is that it has an alternate version of the film on it.. well sort of.. there's a few deleted scenes and an alternate ending that if they had been included would have changed the film considerably. Infact all the extras included on the DVD are pretty cool and worth a peek. The actors aren't hugely famous, David Caruso being the most well known, but they all do a fantastic job. And To be honest, Session 9 is easily one of the best horror films of the last decade. Considering that it was pretty low budget and released in the UK very quietly. If you like Psychological horror, then this is definetly worth checking out. I mean.. look at the cover.. there's a wheelchair..ahh
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on 22 June 2016
What a load of turd. Do people get paid to give good reviews? One of the worst films I have watched.
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on 19 February 2004
I would agree in general terms with most of the reviews already posted, but I think that the ending was actually far better than the other reviewers have let on. In fact, it seemed to me to do justice to the mounting psychological tension in a way that was unexpected, shocking and (in the end) little short of epiphanic. In one of the interviews included with the extra features, Peter Mullan (I think) talks about the feeling of dread that working in Danvers Hospital inspired -- and that is precisely it: dread, not abject fear or revulsion, is what the plot trades on, and the climax is faithful to that. If it were a novel, it would Lovecraft, not Stephen King (or maybe Lovecraft with Clive Barker writing the screenplay). It is the closest thing that I've yet seen to Lars von Trier's equally excellent RIGET, in terms of atmosphere and sheer creepiness. I highly recommend it and think it deserves better than 3.5 stars, so I'll give it 5 stars and hope that bumps it up a bit.
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on 17 February 2006
Ok, so I'm not usually into horror movies as I find them rather boring as they are never scary, but I decided to watch Session 9 as it sounded interesting. I wouldn't class this as a horror but a suspense thriller sort of movie.
Appearences are made by some good actors, who I thought fit the roles well. And the location fit well too as the building was amazing.
First half of the film was a little slow but it built up well to the ending and I thought that there were some great moments. The film wasn't really very gory so if its lots of violence that you look for in a film then this film isn't for you. However there were a couple of cringe worthy moments. I thought that it was clever the way that the film was structured (I liked the day by day structure of the film) as it came down to getting you thinking who the bad guy was and there were two choices. It kept me thinking is it him or him?
The recordings of the patient interviews was quite spooky as it sort of fit with the characters and I thought that the scripting and voice acting for these was well done.
Overall a slow but interesting film - worth the watch.
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on 23 February 2007
Session 9 was recommended to me by a friend who stated it was pretty close to actually watching a Silent Hill movie (and we all know what happened with the eventual one they released)This film is very clever in many ways.

Firstly I wouldn't state that it is a Horror film, more a fictional Biopic about the breakdown of a man's mind. That could be a contradiction in terms but it does closely follow one man's decline from a Hard working typical 'American' style family man to a terrifying conclusion.

I won't say too much, but the very fact that the majority of this film is filmed through the bright sunshine of the day with it streaming through broken windows, following the laborious efforts of an Asbestos mitigation team really does denote the least suspense filled plotline until we find ourselves in the belly of the beast itself, the Danvers State Hospital, where this film is set and actually filmed.

The place itself really does end up becoming the most watchable character in the film and it does leave you wanting to see more of the Hospital itself, hence the Documentary is absolutely fantastic to watch.

Whilst i've not said too much about the film itself, I conclude simply saying that this is a wonderful memorial to the now demolished Danvers Hospital, so get this film and don't expect to be 'shocked' in every other beat of it, but do expect to find yourself roped into the falling apart of one mind's mind with terible consequences.
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on 19 July 2010
The plot of 'Session 9' revolves around a group of five men who win the contract to remove asbestos from a disused mental hospital. With only a few days to complete their work the stakes are high and the team is under pressure. As the week progresses each of the group begin to be affected by the place, and soon become conscious of another presence of some kind.
'Session 9' is a film that succeeds because it doesn't fall back on cheap gimmicks, special effects or shock moments, it instead provides an eerie, forbidding atmosphere and well rounded characters. Writer and director Brad Anderson allows each of the characters to develop as individuals and play off each other, so as a viewer you soon become interested in who they are. Anderson then cleverly allows the horror to grow out of the characters personalities, their creepy working environment and the discovery the of the mental hospitals grim history. The story slowly unravels and despite a relatively slow start it soon hooks you in.
If you want a genuinely chilling, creepy and thought provoking horror film then 'Session 9' is well worth a look.
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on 22 April 2011
Seeing a film like Session 9 just reaffirms that there are truly great films still being made. While many (including the filmmakers) will find comparisons to Don't Look Now, The Shining, and even a nod to The Changeling, Session 9 still stands on its own as a most effective, brooding experience of dread and suspense. Set in the sprawling, abandoned Danvers mental hospital outside Boston, Session 9 might at first appear to be another haunted house or possession film. But this subtle, psychological thriller is far more complex, ultimately leaving the viewer to come to his or her own conclusions about why a normal job goes so horribly wrong. Declared a heritage building, the crumbling institute cannot be torn down so local politicians decide to reopen it for office space. This entails clearing the building of asbestos, a task that will take a removal team at least several weeks. The Hazmat Elimination Company, a small working-class crew lead by Gordon (Peter Mullan) and Philip (David Caruso), is eager for the work and puts in a very competitive bid promising to complete the daunting task within a week. They of course win and start off working and tidying up the decrepit loony bin. Naturally, things don't go too well. Overworked and over strained, each of the five workers in this crew is grappling with his own personal demon - one is afraid of the dark, another suffers from the strain of being a new father, etc. There is also tension among them, as one guy is sleeping with another's ex-girlfriend. These men are at their wit's end and susceptible to losing it. The environment takes care of the rest. When Mike (played by co-writer Stephen Gevedon) finds and plays an old tape recorder, an old tortured voice comes through raising the hairs on your neck. The scary voice is that of an inmate being interviewed by a psychiatrist. He is calmly conducting a therapy session - Session 1 - which begins to reveal a horrible mystery. As the movie progresses, Mike continues to listen to the tapes and we hear snippets of each successive meeting, eventually leading to the dreaded Session 9. An evil has been awakened at Danvers, but does it come from withing the ancient insane asylum's walls, or from deep inside the hearts of the men? Session 9 emphasizes a down to earth acting style that authentically captures the realism of the characters complemented by director Brad Anderson's assured direction and Uta Briesewitz's crisp hi-def video photography. This is a subdued but creepy documentary like approach to the haunted house genre and is probably one of the best horror flicks out there, I highly recommend this to horror fans.
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on 30 August 2006
This is my all-time fave horror movie! I watch it again and again and still find it creepy. This may be something to do with my having worked in a psychiatric hospital and being creeped out by some of the old buildings there(some were well reputed to be haunted!)The acting here is spot on, with the actor playing gaffer Gordon really portraying this "man on the edge" superbly. The nichtophobia scene, as another reviewer mentioned, is indeed an absolute classic. This film is so good i think because it leaves your imagination to get carried away (as opposed to the horror being "in your face"), and the references to old psychiatric practices really reminded me of the many times i've read about such things in old patients' notes from the 50's and 60's etc. Chilling stuff!
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on 6 November 2003
I read a review of this film in the USA this time last year and it was actually in the critic's top 10 scary movies! On returning to the UK I was annoyed that the DVD could not be found anywhere but, lo and behold, it was eventually released and on the back of the review, I jumped at the chance to see it.
I can see why it had no cinema release here : No massive stars, no nubile young girls and no overly gory scenes. In fact, the opposite to the usual fare on offer these days. Instead, you have a slow, well acted and beautifully shot piece of cinema that is worth watching for these factors alone. In terms of the story, it is a little confusing, particularly as what you expect to happen, may not actually happen. The good thing is that it leaves you asking questions and demands to be seen again and even again!! 'Horror' fans per se may not love the film but if you love cinema in general and like to be 'moved' be it by horror, suspense or just good acting, then watch this movie!!
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on 27 October 2008
I can't believe I haven't written about this movie yet, I've had it in my collection for years. This is by far the best budget movie I've ever seen. I watched it again just this week!
This movie is about a clean-up crew specialising in the removal of old hazardous materials from buildings. It's set in an old Psychiatric hospital called Danvers, a remarkable bat-shaped building designed for the treatment and well-being of it's inmates.
As previous reviewers state, this movie may seem a tad slow to some people but this is a movie you have to pay attention to. The atmosphere is excellent set in the Danvers State Hospital, Massachusetts (which is sadly no more, having pulled down most of the buildings leaving only the main bulk at the centre of the batwing complex intact for very expensive 'luxury' apartments. What a scandal!)
The acting is very strong with each of the characters contributing very well to the plot and the tension is beautifully paced.
The setting for this movie is what makes it for me, they really didn't have to do anything except make decent lighting for shots, which they did really, really well!
This movie makes you uneasy from the offset, though it's mostly shot in the daytime and they are just working men trying to make a living. I can't explain without giving too much away but this really does make you feel edgy.
For those of you out there that like your horror a little more intelligent than the usual format, this is for you.
For me however, this is the best tour of Danvers State Hospital I will ever see. I will treasure this movie for all of the above reasons.
RIP Danvers.
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