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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 13.51%
Average: 10.81%
Pretty Bad: 9.46%
Total Crap: 1.35%

3 reviews, 56 user ratings

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Session 9
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by The Ultimate Dancing Machine

"Nice try"
2 stars

I wish I liked this movie more than I do. It's a noble attempt to make an intelligent horror movie, one which avoids the teen-slasher cliches, which shoots for tension rather than Grand Guignol. It just doesn't add up to much, that's all.

A big problem is the look of the movie, which was shot on HDTV. It looks like a sitcom--all cheery, flat colors. This is especially debilitating in a film that depends so strongly, or at any rate is trying to, on mood. Watching Session 9, you always know which parts are supposed to be creepy--but the creepiness isn't there. The really good horror movies wallow in claustrophobia, that delicious feeling that terror is always just around the corner. And there's virtually none of it here.

Taking place entirely within an abandoned mental hospital, where an asbestos crew is renovating, Session 9 contains the germs of some excellent ideas--how hard is it to generate scares in a setting like that?--but the tension isn't sustained well. Director Brad Anderson tries hard; he plants all kinds of clues suggesting some evil is afoot: strange noises, odd behavior, mysterious discoveries. Unfortunately, the threat to the characters is too vaguely defined; there's no immediacy, no urgency to the scenario. Anderson tries to suggest urgency with a cheap ticking-bomb device, portenously flashing the day of the week on screen as we approach the finale, but there's not enough information to suggest what might be in store for everyone. We're left mildly curious, not really gripped.

Session 9 may be too sophisticated for its own good. It is not without intelligence and sincerity; it is not a hackjob. But something is missing, something like that visceral thrill that even the hacks manage to dredge up here and there.

Acting is decent, though if anything there's too much of it; you get tired of watching everybody argue and bitch at one another ad nauseam.

Certainly a worthwhile attempt to do something different within the genre, but to paraphrase Bob Seger, I want those old-time horror movies.

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originally posted: 09/16/02 16:42:23
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User Comments

2/21/17 morris campbell very creepy but the script has problems 4 stars
4/19/12 TCM Great horror film! Creeps me out every time. 5 stars
9/11/10 Lovely Monsters They really buried people and marked them as NUMBERS? That's appalling. 4 stars
10/18/09 Chad Dillon Cooper This little film was hardly shown in theaters. Very good. 5 stars
9/03/09 emma Loved this film, watched it behind a cushion & slept with the lights on! 5 stars
9/26/08 Pat Creepy and fantastic. Cast is great, especially Caruso. 5 stars
8/20/07 Rogue Gallart No haunted house has ever looked so scary in the daylight. Session 9 is without a doubt one 5 stars
8/05/07 Rogue Gallart "Great movie" This is what we were always scared of as kids! 5 stars
6/14/07 pyschotic I love this movie! and have been to quite a few abandoned hospitals.....fucking superb. 5 stars
4/17/07 tony g considering you dont see anything,the atmosphere is fantastic! and grips you till the end 5 stars
2/26/07 Anders Superb in every aspect - almost as good as the Shining 5 stars
1/04/07 smita very disturbing and chilling suspense horror.films like this puts imagination back in scare 5 stars
5/23/06 malcolm suspense was remarkable but ending was a cheat 3 stars
4/18/06 marty sartwell left me jumpy and leaving the lights on 5 stars
1/27/06 Ken Truly disturbing. "Do it, Gordon, do it now..." 5 stars
9/25/05 Total Crap Awesome acting. Awesome Location. "The Shining" in a mental hospital. Spooky. 5 stars
9/15/05 Michal The scariest film I've ver seen. It left me in fever and it' not my usual reaction for mov 5 stars
7/23/05 Indrid Cold A genuinely unsettling horror movie, which is very rare. Fantastic visuals. 4 stars
4/02/05 Cynthia Willingham This movie is creepy, but done quite well. Ending needed work. 5 stars
2/19/05 NBCraftsman "An intelligent suspense/horror film with a slow-build that is executed perfectly..." 5 stars
1/18/05 Archanist_101 Not bad... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/23/04 crgtnl awsome horror film. perfectly filmed and acted. i go to school right next to the insne aslm 5 stars
12/04/04 K. Sear Not a possession story but rather a tale of how the capacity for evil is in us all. 5 stars
11/18/04 psycho black dwarf fractured story left it up to viewers to piece together, only one real thrill. 3 stars
11/04/04 Mike6918 the chair is the hallway was right next to mary's room 4 stars
8/14/04 meridian intelligent script. excellent use of setting. you forgot to mention mike in the review 5 stars
7/16/04 tank1229 just awesome 5 stars
5/26/04 Mark Louis Baumgart I found the movie too slow, and the ending too rushed and too ordinary. Well, acted tho' 3 stars
1/21/04 LobotomyGuy endings fine wid me...DO IT GORDON!!!! 5 stars
1/06/04 darkofnight know a film works when you're afraid of every shadow. Fantastic horror. 5 stars
9/17/03 Amber intriguing, but left a few too many questions 4 stars
8/05/03 Nelly The movie was the shit but I didnt understand the whole chair thing in the hallway 5 stars
7/24/03 Sully I'm from Danvers...that place is beyond frightening...btw...I banged Mary Hobbs 5 stars
5/24/03 Bloody Vixen Nice the ending is spectacular and tankfully original! 5 stars
5/07/03 Terregon Kewl! Simon's first spree was in Lowell! My hometown. Not suprised. 3 stars
3/06/03 Bethe Woodburn I live near the hospital and have always been curious. A great scare! Makes you think. 5 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby The ending sucks; but this was the scariest film of 2001!!! 4 stars
11/21/02 DMBand This was truly the scariest and most disturbing film I have seen in a long time. 5 stars
10/27/02 Greyjack Would've been even better as a straight documentary about Danvers. That place is FREAKY. 3 stars
10/22/02 Mood A thinking person's horror film. Kicks. Ass. 5 stars
10/03/02 private the best i ever saw 5 stars
7/08/02 Jim More a study in psychosis (or possession) than horror, but creepy and chilling, esp. at end 4 stars
6/17/02 stoolie-bird creepy!! 5 stars
4/19/02 CAT Very Intriguing makes ya think.. Simons voice was creepy 4 stars
3/26/02 David A. I say Simon is a demon who possesses people. Your ideas are just as valid! 4 stars
3/19/02 Spyguy2 Ummmmmm......can you guys roll me some of what you are all smoking? 3 stars
3/17/02 K y L e A velly velly good film. 5 stars
3/03/02 The Knowby Warrior This movie is one of the best horror movies ever! Simon is here... - CREEPY 5 stars
2/27/02 Liz Very intriguing and scary! 5 stars
9/09/01 Albie Expected more. The hospital was very cool. 3 stars
9/03/01 Christian Very well done, could have had a better ending. 5 stars
8/28/01 Jim Dodd Aweome flick, ***** (five stars) 5 stars
8/26/01 reeko well, not bad - doesn't really fulfill in the end, but the director is on the right track. 3 stars
8/19/01 Roy G Biv Worth A Look 4 stars
8/16/01 Rob Banfitch well directed and acted but nothing of interest 2 stars
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  10-Aug-2001 (R)



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