Session 9: Wikis

  
  

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Session 9

Promotional poster for Session 9
Directed by Brad Anderson
Produced by John Sloss,
Dorothy Aufiero,
David Collins,
Michael Williams
Written by Brad Anderson,
Stephen Gevedon
Starring David Caruso,
Peter Mullan,
Stephen Gevedon,
Paul Guilfoyle,
Josh Lucas,
Brendan Sexton III
Music by Climax Golden Twins
Cinematography Uta Briesewitz
Editing by Brad Anderson
Distributed by USA Films
Release date(s) 2001
Running time 97 min (USA)
Country United States USA
Language English

Session 9 is a 2001 psychological horror film directed by Brad Anderson. The film takes place in and around the Danvers State Mental Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts.

Contents

Synopsis

The Danvers State Hospital has been closed since 1985. Gordon Fleming (Peter Mullan) is the owner of The Hazmat Elimination Company, a small asbestos removal company. When he hears that the hospital needs asbestos removal, he makes a bid to remove them, ambitiously claiming he can finish the job in just two weeks in order to get the contract; 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 Gordon and his wife, Wendy. As Gordon initially tours the asylum, he comes across a dark hallway with a wheelchair in the middle. He hears a ghostly voice say, "Hello... Gordon."

Gordon's team is small, but eclectic. Mike (Stephen Gevedon, also the film's screenwriter) is an angry, acerbic law school drop-out, who knows a lot about the asylum. Phil (David Caruso), Gordon's second in command, is filled with bitterness after losing his long-time girlfriend to Hank (Josh Lucas), another team member who likes to rub that fact in Phil's face. Hank dreams of leaving his job to run a casino. Jeff, Gordon's nephew (Brendan Sexton III), is the youngest member of the crew, and suffers from severe nyctophobia.

The job affects each of the men in different ways. While checking on an electrical problem, Mike discovers a box marked "evidence." Inside, Mike finds a collection of taped interviews with former patient number 444, Mary Hobbes, labeled Session 1 through 9. In between working, he listens and becomes increasingly engrossed in the interviews, which detail the patient's multiple personality disorder. Most of the subject's personalities are harmless and child-like. Princess is completely innocent and talks nonstop. Billy sees everything. 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 one Christmas in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Gordon opens up to one of his crew men and admits that he hit Wendy after she accidentally spilled a pot of boiling water on him. He explains that he feels horrible about hitting her, and that the last thing he remembers is his wife and child crying, and the dog barking. Meanwhile, Hank finds a stash of coins and personal items that have been hidden away since the asylum closed. Unaware that the items came from the cremation chamber in the morgue, Hank returns late one night to steal the artifacts. Upon leaving he follows sounds and finds an empty peanut butter jar, the same as the kind Gordon brought home the first night. However upon investigating he is attacked by an unseen assailant and disappears.

When Hank disappears, Gordon begins to suspect that Phil may have murdered him for stealing his girlfriend. Others postulate that he ran away to Miami after finally winning on a scratch off lottery ticket. Hank, however, is soon found by Jeff, but only able to mutter, "What are you doing here?". Jeff runs to tell the others of his discovery and they go to investigate. However, Hank is gone when they all go to look. Gordon believes Jeff when he sees a morgan dollar dropped upon the ground, which have been appearing mysteriously all over the place. The co-workers split up in order to find him. One by one, the team members become lost and are ambushed by an unseen attacker.

Gordon finds himself alone in a room of wing A in the asylum with pictures of his wife and child affixed to the wall with the red substance used earlier in the film to mark asbestos, some possibly covered with blood. A short flashback sequence 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 his team member, but in fact murdered her and his daughter. He then proceeded to murder all of his colleagues in succession (committing the murders in a dissociative state and later becoming convinced that Phil was responsible). Gordon starts crying and apologizing as it zooms to the roof. As the film ends, the recording of Session 9 is heard. Simon, the evil personality, finally speaks. He reveals that Mary murdered her brother after he scared her, which caused her to severely injure herself by falling over onto her china doll, then proceeded to kill the rest of her family. The doctor asks: "And where do you live, Simon?" In the same voice that Gordon heard in the hospital at the beginning of the film, we hear Simon say, "I live in the weak and the wounded, Doc." [1]

Reception

Session 9 garnered mostly positive reviews from critics. Most critics praised the film's dark and creepy atmosphere and lack of gore.[2] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called the film "a spine-tingler" and praised Brad Anderson's direction.[3] Bloody Disgusting ranked the film fifth in their list of the 'Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade', with the article saying "Brad Anderson couldn’t have set his nerve-wracking, slow-burning horror opus in a better one: an abandoned New England mental hospital... 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. The film is old-school in a lot of ways, particularly in that it doesn’t just rely on cheap shocks to scare the living daylights out of us. Indeed, the scariest moments in the film are those that involve disembodied voices, eerie visuals and the mere suggestion that something horrible is about to happen. This is the stuff bad dreams are made of. It currently has a 61% on Rotten Tomatoes. "[4]

Interpretations

In reviewing the film for the 2003 edition of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Ellen Datlow takes the view that Simon is not necessarily an alternate personality of the former patient Mary, but a malignant genius loci.[5] Her review also points out that the deleted scenes included on the DVD help bring out an added understanding of the narrative.

The deleted scenes display a demon hidden within the walls of the asylum, clearly reinforcing the "demonic" spirit interpreted by Datlow. There is also a homeless woman who witnesses all the murders and finally takes justice out upon Gordon in an alternate ending.

Cast

References

  1. ^ Fall Frights: SESSION 9 (Film Review)
  2. ^ http://uk.rottentomatoes.com/m/session_9/
  3. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/movie/5947923/review/5947924/session_9
  4. ^ "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...Part 4". Bloody Disgusting. http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/news/18447. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  5. ^ Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling - The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixteenth Annual Collection Page lxxxviii Macmillan, 2003 ISBN 0312314256 Accessed via Google Books August 27, 2008

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Session 9 a 2001 film directed by Brad Anderson, filmed in notorious real life Danvers State Mental Hospital.

Written by Brad Anderson and Stephen Gevedon. Directed by Brad Anderson.
Fear Is A Place.

Dialogue

Phil: Oh... and Gordon?
Gordon: Yeah?
Phil: [Pointing] Fuuuuck you!

Phil: Gordon! I wouldn't tell anyone about this, cause if they found out about Hank, they're going to find out about the others.
Gordon: You did this! Where are the others?
Phil: GORDON! I want you to wake up, look down, and take a really, really, really good look at him.

Doctor: And where do you live, Simon?
Mary Forbes: [as Simon] I live in the weak and the wounded... Doc.

Jeff: What's the deal with Phil and Hank?
Mike: What's the deal? Hank stole Phil's girlfriend! It's a nightmare! You don't wanna get involved! You especially don't want to get on Phil's bad side, he'll give you all the grunt work

Others

  • Phil: It says here that 19 were committed due to disappointed expectations, Hank, they're talkin' about you.
  • Peter Mullan: Madness is just overactive curiousity.

External links

Wikipedia
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