Session 9

Review Date:
Director: Brad Anderson
Writer: Brad Anderson, Stephen Gevedon
Producers: Dorothy Aufiero, David Collins
David Caruso as Phil
Peter Mullan as Gordon
Stephen Gevedon as Mike
A group of asbestos cleaners get a job removing the gunk from an old insane asylum. As each day passes, the crew members begin to discover things about the place and themselves which set other things in motion. Saying anything else about the plot would be a crime. Have fun…
“I feel like shooting myself in the head” are the first words that came out of my mouth after seeing this movie, a good indication as to what kind of film to expect here. This ain’t your average “happy go lucky” kind of picture. This is a deliberately slow-paced mystery-horror film drenched in atmosphere, with a very creepy insane asylum (in which most of the film takes place), very few clues up-front and lots to talk about afterwards. Will it bore some people to sleep? You bet it will! Is it made for the SCREAM audiences of the day? Absolutely not! I guess you can describe this film as a horror movie for the “cerebral crowd”. A film that patiently unwraps itself frame after frame, giving away very little with each step and each sound, unwinding itself until its final scenes offer up a world of revelations and plenty more to discuss later. I’ve always loved movies that have me talking about them afterwards like THE SHINING and LOST HIGHWAY and this film fits right into that group. In fact, I guess I can pussyfoot around the actual word all I want but the best way to describe this kind of movie is a “mindfuck”.

If you feel like watching a movie that moves very slowly, gives you a handful of characters with divergent backgrounds, tosses a few very ambiguous and supernatural cookies your way and is extremely disturbing once you put it all together, well, then this movie is definitely for you! It’s the kind of film that you actually have to see twice to fully appreciate (damn, I missed that whole “peanut butter” thing!) and one that will likely creep the shit out of you if watched alone in the dark. “Brrrrrrrrr…now what was that sound in the basement? Honey, can you go check?” And one thing this film doesn’t have, unlike its Hollywood-ian counterparts like THE HAUNTING, is special effects. In fact, that’s one of the greater things about this movie: it feels real because it looks like it’s actually taped on video with very credible actors in very credible circumstances (I did some research and it was, in fact, shot on digital video…ah-ha!). Another great thing about it is that it’s actually very gory and somewhat violent in theme, and yet we rarely see anything of the sort on the big screen (it’s mostly implied, kids!). And as clichéd as it might be to say…it’s usually much scarier when stuff is left to our imagination or implied in movies as such.

Other films that this one reminded me of include HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER and THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, with that same real sense of dread, brooding and terror. The film does however move awfully slow and if you really don’t get “into” it completely (you really need to concentrate here), you will lose the motion of the story and the pent-up tension might be released. But overall, this film is yet another great example of the horror genre making a very cool comeback this year with no tight tanktops in sight. And with David Caruso acting like the king hotshot like only he can, how can you go wrong? Definitely not a film for everyone but a must-see for anyone looking to throw themselves into the psyche of the disturbed (count me in!). Stanley Kubrick would be proud! Oh yeah…so where’s that gun again…?

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

Session 9



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