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Session 9

I had never heard of this film until Fangoria listed it as the "second best horror film of the past decade". Considering that Let The Right One In, one of my favorite films of all-time, was listed in the number one slot, I thought that - perhaps - the site actually had a decent sense of taste. The concept looked interesting as well, so that helped in getting me to sit down and watch the film as well. The film is meant to be a psychological horror film that disturbs with its creepy atmosphere and foreboding background. Unfortunately, though, Session 9 only lives up to few of its promises.

The film follows Gordon Fleming and his small asbestos removal company, The Hazmat Elimination Company, as the group takes a new job for the owners of the abandoned Danvers State Hospital. As Gordon's in desperate need of money, he tells the owners of the former asylum that he can complete the asbestos removal in just one week in order to get the contract. Gordon's financial problems, though, aren't his only ones. He's having a difficult time with his new fatherhood as well, which is turn causing problems with his spouse. Nonetheless dedicated, the groups begins to work on the abandoned insane asylum for the next week. During that period, however, the group will find that more than just asbestos has been left inside the walls of the asylum.

Does this sound interesting at all? If so, then you should understand my bitter disappointment of this film. It starts out slightly interested in the characters, at the very least, but it gets completely dull after awhile. There's no development or reflection and intellect only seems to come from the character of Mike, so there's no reason to look into the characters for entertainment or contemplation. Maybe the film would be better, in a pulpier sort of way, if it had a good plot, but even the story seems to be absent of excitement or "thrills". The film has a decent atmosphere but all of the scares are obvious and very few in number. There's one creepy scene, I'll admit that much, but it's fleeting and the film goes back into its naturally boring state.

I hated the ending as well. The film has very little, if any, buildup so it's not as if I'm really looking forward to this film's ending. Then again, maybe I was looking forward to the ending just so the film would finally be over. Moving on from my snarky comments, the film's ending feels contrived and too "out there" to actually take seriously. It's as if the screenwriter couldn't come up with an ending and decided to throw in a gimmicky twist just for the heck of it. I won't give anything away, but I'd also like to mention that the "crazy one" of the group is completely obvious. Seriously - I could point out the psycho in this group from the first ten minutes of the film. That's just sad. What's even worse is the fact that the screenwriter seemed to realize this near the end and decided to throw a false-baddie in to keep the audience guessing. If you can see a brick wall, though, you can recognize who'll be the one to go absolutely nuts.

In terms of visuals, the film's decent. The hid-def looks pretty nice and the film looks as if it could've been shot on location. Also, a film aficionado should recognize that the film's trying to be reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. The scenes that are shot on the inside of the hospital, for instance, are cut together in a way that looks heavily similar to the way that the camera would follow Jack Torrance in the Overlook Hotel. It's a nice homage, if anything else, and I don't really have nay major complaints in this department.

The film started out nicely enough, as I said. It seemed like it'd be a great character-orientated horror film as the atmosphere and dialogue suggested. Sadly, though, things didn't work out that way. Mike's character, however, remained intellectual and likable form start to finish though. He was curious in the paranormal, educated in law and medicine, and he had some great one-liners to boot. Then again, maybe I'm just looking for any good things about the film.

Session 9 is just a poor horror film. It's boring, the ending's just terrible, and there's little of the atmosphere that makes for a truly haunting experience. It starts out well enough and the visuals look decent, but there's not much else to like about this indie horror.



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