Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brad Anderson|
|Produced by||John Sloss
|Written by||Brad Anderson
Brendan Sexton III
|Music by||Climax Golden Twins|
|Editing by||Brad Anderson|
|Distributed by||USA Films|
|Release date(s)||July, 2001 (Fantasia Festival)|
|Running time||100 minutes|
Session 9 is a 2001 American psychological horror film, directed by Brad Anderson and written by Anderson and Stephen Gevedon. It premiered at the Fantasia Festival in July, 2001, and stars 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 Danvers State Hospital has been closed since 1985. Gordon Fleming (Mullan) is the owner of The Hazmat Elimination Company, a small asbestos removal company. When he hears that the hospital needs asbestos removed, he makes a bid to remove it, as he is in desperate need of money. He is also a new father, and the stress of work and parenthood have been causing problems between him and his wife, Wendy.
Gordon's team is small, but eclectic. Mike (Gevedon) is a law school dropout, who knows the most about the asylum in the group. Phil (Caruso) is filled with bitterness after losing his long-time girlfriend to Hank (Lucas), another team member. Because of this, Phil has taken up smoking marijuana. Jeff, Gordon's nephew (Sexton III), is the youngest member, and suffers from severe nyctophobia.
Mike discovers a box marked "Evidence" in a tunnel. Inside, he finds a collection of nine taped sessions with former patient number 444, a 37-year-old named Mary Hobbes from 1974. He listens and becomes increasingly engrossed in the interviews, which detail her dissociative identity disorder (multiple personalities). Two of Hobbes' personalities are harmless and childlike. They all refer to another personality named Simon, someone they don't want to talk about. Throughout the sessions, it is revealed that something terrible happened involving a knife and a china doll when she was fourteen during Christmas 1951 in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Gordon opens up to Phil and admits that he hit Wendy after she accidentally spilled a pot of boiling water on him. He is extremely depressed, frequently talking to his wife on his cell phone, asking her forgiveness. Meanwhile, Hank finds a stash of old coins and other valuable items which, unbeknownst to him, are from the back of a crematory. He returns one night to steal the artifacts, among which he finds an orbitoclast. He follows sounds and finds an empty peanut butter jar, the same as the kind Gordon brought home the first night. Terrified, Hank tries to run out of the tunnels, when he is attacked by an unseen assailant and disappears. Gordon begins to suspect that Phil may have murdered him. Hank, however, is soon found by Jeff, and as he stares out the window with his glasses on, he asks Jeff "What are you doing here?" Gordon goes with Jeff to investigate but Hank is gone when they arrive. The coworkers split up to find Hank. Phil eventually finds him sitting on the ground in one of the tunnels, half-naked, and repeatedly asking "What are you doing here?" One by one, each of the men become lost in the asylum and are slowly ambushed by an unseen attacker.
Meanwhile, the recording of the final session with patient 444, session 9, is heard. Simon, the evil personality, finally speaks. He reveals that when she was a child, Mary, encouraged by Simon, murdered her brother after he scared her. He had previously caused her to severely injure herself by falling over onto her china doll. She then proceeded to kill the rest of her family. While the recording plays, Phil finds Gordon in one of the patient rooms, who is staring in horror at pictures of his family hanging on the wall.
Later on, as the new employee replacing Hank pulls up to the asylum, Gordon is shown standing in one of the main rooms, and soon finds Hank on the floor. Phil then appears, and tells him to wake up and to 'take a REALLY good look around.' A flashback reveals that, after his initial inspection of the hospital, Gordon went home, and when his wife spilled the boiling water on him, he did not slap her as he told Phil, but in fact murdered her and his daughter, at Simon's encouragement. He then proceeded to murder all of his colleagues in succession (committing the murders in a dissociative state). It's also revealed when Phil approached Gordon while he was looking at the pictures on the wall, Phil accused Gordon of attacking Hank, and and as a result, Gordon murders him. He then proceeds to murder the new employee with the orbitoclast after he comes into the room.
Gordon, talking into his broken cell phone, starts crying and apologizing to his wife. In the final scene, the doctor asks: "And where do you live, Simon?" Simon replies, "I live in the weak and the wounded, Doc."
- Peter Mullan as Gordon Fleming
- David Caruso as Phil Cronenburg
- Stephen Gevedon as Mike King
- Josh Lucas as Hank Romero
- Brendan Sexton III as Jeff Fleming
- Larry Fessenden as Craig McManus
- Paul Guilfoyle as Bill Griggs
- Charley Broderick as Security Guard
Session 9 was director Brad Anderson's first horror film, after having directed two romantic comedy films, Next Stop Wonderland (1998) and Happy Accidents (2000). 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.
It was one of the first motion pictures to be shot in 24p HD digital video, which shoots at 24 frames-per-second like film, as opposed to regular digital video which shoots at 30 frames-per-second.
Critical reception 
Session 9 received mixed to positive reviews from critics. The film currently holds a 62% approval rating on movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on sixty-five reviews, with a weighted mean score of 6.2/10.
Some critics praised the film's dark, eerie atmosphere and lack of gore. Entertainment Weekly called the film "a marvel of vérité nightmare atmosphere." Rolling Stone called it "a spine-tingler", and praised Brad Anderson's direction. Los Angeles Times said of the film: "Session 9 is so effective that its sense of uncertainty lingers long after the theater lights have gone up." Bloody Disgusting ranked the film fifth in its list of the twenty best horror films of the 2000s, writing, "Session 9 isn't just a cheap, hack 'n' slash, instantly-forgettable type horror film, but a psychologically probing, deeply unsettling journey off the edge and into the abyss of the human mind." Slant Magazine favorably compared it to the 1973 film Don't Look Now, writing, "Anderson's creeper is nowhere near as profound, but the film's old-fashioned pacing and revelatory camerawork bring to mind [Nicholas] Roeg's uniquely terrifying dreamworlds."
Negative reviews criticized the film's ending. A negative review came from Variety, who wrote, "while pic works up a nervously eerie paranoia, it finally doesn't know what to do with what it sets up." San Francisco Chronicle said, "the story doesn't quite pay off, characters are underwritten and the surprise ending is contrived and unconvincing." The Village Voice wrote, "the script for Session 9 is so underwritten that even such lively character actors as David Caruso, Peter Mullan and Brendan Sexton III are left stranded."
In reviewing the film for the 2003 edition of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Ellen Datlow contends that Simon is not necessarily an alternate personality of the former patient Mary, but rather a malignant genius loci. She also points out that the deleted scenes included on the DVD help fill out the narrative.
|Soundtrack album by Climax Golden Twins|
|Released||August 21, 2001|
|Genre||Ambient, dark ambient|
The score to Session 9 was composed by Seattle, Washington-based experimental band Climax Golden Twins. The score is in an ambient and dark ambient vein. The soundtrack was released on August 21, 2001, through Milan Records. "Choke Chain" by Sentridoh is played over the closing credits of the film, but is not featured on the album.
- Track listing
All songs written and composed by Climax Golden Twins (Scott Colburn, Robert Millis, Jeffrey Taylor), except "Piece for Tape Recorder", written and recorded by Vladimir Ussachevsky.
|1.||"A Few Simple Up and Down Jerks"||4:35|
|3.||"Noon, About Noon"||5:06|
|4.||"I Live in the Gut"||6:11|
|7.||"I Want to Talk to Amy"||1:13|
|8.||"I Saw You"||2:01|
|12.||"Piece for Tape Recorder" (Vladimir Ussachevsky)||5:38|
See also 
- Koehler, Robert (August 6, 2001). "Session 9". Variety. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- Tobias, Scott (November 24, 2010). "Session 9 | Film | The New Cult Canon | The A.V. Club". avclub.com. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- Cavagna, Carlo (August, 2001). "AboutFilm – David Caruso and Brad Anderson on Session 9 (2001)". aboutfilm.com. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
- "Session 9 (2001) – Trivia – IMDb". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
- "History – Cinemabox & Unisoft Present Fantasia 2012". fantasiafestival.com. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- "Session 9 (2001) – Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
- "Session 9 – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- Gleiberman, Owen (August 8, 2001). "Session 9". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- Travers, Peter (August 17, 2001). "Session 9". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- Thomas, Kevin (August 10, 2001). "Scary 'Session 9' Takes a Minimalist Approach". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...Part 4 || Bloody DisgustingBloody Disgusting". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- Gonzalez, Ed (July 30, 2001). "Session 9 | Film Review | Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- Guthmann, Edward (September 14, 2001). "Film Clips / Also Opening Today". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- Taubin, Amy (August 7, 2001). "The Shinings". The Village Voice. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- Datlow, Ellen; Windling, Terri (2003). The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixteenth Annual Collection. Macmillan. p. LXXXVIII. ISBN 0-312-31425-6.
- Carruthers, Sean. "Session 9 – Original Soundtrack : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved September 15, 2012.