‘Fear is a place’
Session 9 is a 2001 American psychological horror film, directed by Brad Anderson from a screenplay by Anderson and Stephen Gevedon.
David Caruso, Peter Mullan, Stephen Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle, Josh Lucas and Brendan Sexton III.
The plot focuses on the growing tension within an asbestos removal crew working at an abandoned mental asylum, which is paralleled by the gradual revelation of a former patient’s disturbed past through recorded audio tapes of the patient’s hypnotherapy sessions. The film takes place in and around the Danvers State Mental Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts.
The low budget film, while not a financial success, has been critically well-received—with praise in particular going to its atmosphere—and is now considered a minor cult film.
Session 9 was director Brad Anderson’s first horror film, after having directed two romantic comedy films. The film was inspired by a murder that took place in Boston, where Anderson grew up, in the mid-1990s, in which a man supposedly killed his wife after she accidentally burnt his dinner, then cut out her heart and lungs and put them in his backyard on a stake.
Most of the film was shot in a small section of the asylum; according to David Caruso, the rest of the building was “unsafe” for shooting. Caruso also claims the sets didn’t need to be dressed as all the props featured in the film were already there inside the building.
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“… I can’t recall one “cheap scare” in the whole movie. In lieu of gimmicks that are so prevalent in the teen horror genre of today, Session 9 relies on the imagination of its viewers as well as its characters. Are there actually spirits of the damned still residing in the hospital? Are those shadows in the background moving? Session 9 is not concerned with giving the audience straight answers and it’s so much better for it.” Beyond Hollywood.com
“As it blurs the line between dissociative identity disorder and demonic possession, the movie uses the cheapo look of digital videotape as an effective source for terror – long before such notions became passé.” Sam Bramesco, Rolling Stone
“Session 9 takes too much time to get going—like The Shining, it dawdles in expository lore—and the various subplots don’t fit together as snugly as they should. But Anderson and his first-rate cast make the most of their location. The hospital seems to dictate every aspect of the production by emitting a sense of dread that creeps into the detailed soundtrack, the languid camera movements, and the disquieting performances.” Scott Tobias, The Onion AV Club