ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

002096
Search by title # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Session 9 (2001)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Brad Anderson

Starring:
David Caruso/Phil
Josh Lucas/Hank
Stephen Gevedon/Mike
Peter Mullan/Gordon
8 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Five asbestos removers are hired to clean up an abandoned nuthouse. As they delve deeper into the asylum, they begin to get affected by their grim surroundings. That’s all I’ll say.
THE LOWDOWN
WTF???? After this flick was over I had a huge headache and spent lots of time outside chatting about it with my friends. The more we talked, the more layers we uncovered in respect to the movie and even now I can’t really say that I have it all completely figured out. Is that a sign of a good flick? To me, you bet it is!

“Hip teen slasher” crowd beware...this puppy isn’t for you! This is a throwback to trippy horror. Where "Jeepers Creepers" had shades of the 80s stamped all over it, this one is strictly 70s vibe and reminded me of Kubrick’s "The Shining" big time. The pace is slow, the movie is very subtle (maybe a bit too subtle) and physical action only takes place during the last act.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot because I want you guys to exercise your brain as much as I did. All I’ll say is that one character finds an old recording of a session that took place in the asylum and that recording correlates with the events happening to our 5 blue-collar workers. Eventually, blood is shed and a mystery is brought up as to whom is doing the killings. To find out more about the film, you’ll have to see it for yourself. Trust me though, the more you think about it afterwards, the more things that you will discover about the film. Isn’t that great?!

My few complaints about the movie are: 1) It takes a bit too much time to pick up the pace; the physical action should’ve been spread out more evenly. And 2) The film takes mucho time establishing its surroundings and later on doesn’t deliver full force with what its showed us (example: that lobotomy table should’ve been used…come on!). I guess all the neato potential murder equipment was mostly there to establish ambiance.

This a film that’s so subtle that I’m sure I missed all kinds of shit along the way. Where I thought nothing was going on, something was probably going on and I didn’t pick it up (lots of low-key clues in this movie). This is definitely a movie that you have to see more than once to fully grasp. Overall, it kept me guessing, creeped me out very often, had strong acting (Caruso rocks!), a very effective setting, many striking, eerie images and a powerful ending (also depressing). Want to hear the full session 9?
GORE
The gore is minimal but we do get a spike in some dude’s eye (ouch) and a few off-screen stabbings. We also get some after the fact blood. This film is NOT about gore.
ACTING
David Caruso (Phil) comes through gangbusters. He’s climbing back up the ladder with this film. The magnetism that made him a star on "NYPD Blue" is on full throttle here. I loved every second that he was on screen. Brendan Sexton (Jeff) sports a crazy mullet (hilarious) and plays the “dude”-spurting rookie perfectly. Josh Lucas (Hank) does well as the a-hole. What I liked about him was that he didn’t come across as a caricature, just a real guy who happened to be a jerk. Stephen Gevedon (Mike) also does ok but I will admit that he had the least interesting part in the film. Peter Mullan (Gordon) goes through it all here and hits all of the right emotional notes. His scenes with Caruso are on the money.
T & A
No, David Caruso doesn’t show his ass.
DIRECTING
If Brad Anderson isn’t a Kubrick fan than he should be. "Session 9" can almost be perceived as a tribute to "The Shining". The directing style is very similar: same kind of wide traveling shots, same kind of focus on inanimate objects that might mean something, same kind of feeling of dread and impending doom. Anderson pulls off some very nice shots and the shot where the darkness runs after one of the guys (you’ll see) is classic. Great work.
SOUNDTRACK
Again shades of Kubrick. The score is very reminiscent of the “Eyes Wide Shut” score…a single piano note, very effective. We also get some background 70’s jive and a second of hard rock.
DVD FEATURES
Distributor: USA Home Entertainment Release Date: February 26, 2002

IMAGE: The good news is that we get the flick in "Letterbox" format, every nook and cranny of this baby is in glorious display. The bad news is that the image has the occasional grain. Overall, an okay image.

SOUND: The Dolby Digital Stereo Sound serves the film well, giving us clear dialogue and a resonating score. On the money here.

EXTRAS: Lots of groovy morbid stuff to lap up in the extras department:

Deleted scenes/alternate ending: Here we get a 9-minute montage of deleted scenes involving a full cut out subplot about a homeless woman on the premises. She was to be used as a "red herring" as to whom was committing the murders but test audiences got confused due to her presence, so they totally snipped her out of the flick. The alternate ending involves the enigmatic woman. This segment also has an director/writer commentary option.

Story to screen: Here we get some split screen action. On the one side there is a scene while on the other, the storyboards and on-set shooting footage. We get 5 scenes in total and a director commentary option. There's also an Alternate Poster Concepts option where we see a montage of all the different poster art the film went through (23 of them if I counted right) before finding "the one".

Commentary by Brad Anderson and Stephen Gevedon: This very technical commentary still brings us some background info on specific shots, thoughts on the wonderful cast, the intentions behind specific scenes and background info on the location. Fairly interesting but we do get some "dead time".

The Haunted Palace: This 13-minute spooky extra intercuts between shots of the asylum where they shot, drawings of the asylum, the real history of the asylum (told by Mike Ramsear) and thoughts from the cast and crew about the place. Peter Mullen (Gordon) in particular has some creepy ass stories about his experience on this picture. Brrrrrr.

This extra packed DVD also offers us the slick Theatrical Trailer. This one is a must...great movie...strong DVD.
BOTTOM LINE
This is a thinking man’s horror film that will please the hardcore genre buff but will let down the teeny bop crowd with a vengeance. It focuses on characters, atmosphere and it doesn’t spell it out for the audience. In other words…it won’t make any money! If you’re craving a mature horror picture (and I know many of you are) than you have to see this film. "Session 9" is the real thing and yes…I will see it again.
BULL'S EYE
This film was shot on location at the Danvers State Hospital; an asylum that dates back to the late 1870’s. It once held 2300 inmates even though it was built for a capacity of 650. Must have been a fun set to be on!

The film was shot with the latest top-of-the-line Sony Hi-Def TV cameras. I didn't even notice...I thought it was on film.

I saw this film at the closing night of the Fantasia Film Festival. The crowd was rowdy, many were drunk or high, the guy behind me kept kicking the back of my seat and talking way too loud to his ugly girlfriend. Not really the best setting to view this type of film. I recommend that if you do go see this chiller, hit a matinee where the crowd is minimal and get good nights sleep the night before. Enjoy.
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

11:02AM on 07/26/2005
This a very, very spooky film. These days, when you can't seem to escape from teen horror films, it's nice to have a film where an unseen force scares the shit out of a bunch of grown-up men. Anderson makes full use of his creepy location, and the performances are all top notch, particularly Mullan, Caruso and Lucas. If you want to be scared, this is for you.
This a very, very spooky film. These days, when you can't seem to escape from teen horror films, it's nice to have a film where an unseen force scares the shit out of a bunch of grown-up men. Anderson makes full use of his creepy location, and the performances are all top notch, particularly Mullan, Caruso and Lucas. If you want to be scared, this is for you.
Your Reply:



Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting

Mistress Of The Week

More
Moore, Mandy