Jump to content

Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

- - - - -

*** Official SESSION 9 Review and Discussion Thread

  • You cannot start a new topic
  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

Jason Seaver

    Lead Actor

  • 9,306 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 31 1969

Posted August 11 2001 - 04:17 PM

Session 9 is an okay movie. It could have been terrific. From what I gather, Brad Anderson saw the Danvers State Mental Hospital and knew it would be the perfect setting for a horror movie. And he's right; this out-of-the-way, gothic, huge, decrepit building with various bits of bad history associated with it just crawls with atmosphere. To make it even scarier, Anderson posits that the building is loaded with asbestos, meaning that the dust all over everything is not just eerie, but dangerous. So he sends a asbestos abatement crew (populated by well-acted, interesting characters) in there, under an extremely tight deadline (1 week for a job that should take at least three), has one of them find a series of tapes detailing 9 sessions by one patient with multiple personalities, and lets the story unfold. Which it does. Slowly. With numerous red herrings. And, most unfotunately, no sense of urgency. We're told that hazmat disposal is a stressful job, and that there's a tight deadline with an associated bonus, but none of the characters ever really seem to particularly aware of it. This situation, which should be setting everyone on edge, doesn't do that so well. The last act does ratchet the suspense up more, but it tosses some things that had taken up a good chunk of screen time to the side. One thing about the ending I did like, though, was the ambiguity (BTW, I'm serious about the spoilers):
It's not explicitly spelled out whether the killings are a result of some sort of demonic possession, or whether Gordon just snaps. The former is hinted at, but not made anything close to explicit, although the latter is more frightening, IMHO.
One technical note: I think this is the first movie in (semi-)wide release shot using Sony's 24p high-resolution digital motion-picture cameras (The Anniversery Party and Timecode were both merely HDTV); I know Jason X and Attack Of The Clones won't be released for a while, while Spy Kids 2 won't start shooting for another month. Anyway, it looks fantastic, 2.35 widescreen and no hint of grain, and I only knew this because I stayed through the end credits. As unimpressed as I was with DLP, this "digital film" looks like the real deal.
Jay's Movie Blog - A movie-viewing diary.
Transplanted Life: Sci-fi soap opera about a man placed in a new body, updated two or three times a week.
Trading Post Inn - Another gender-bending soap, with different collaborators writing different points of view.

"What? Since when was this an energy...

#2 of 19 OFFLINE   Chris Dugger

Chris Dugger

    Supporting Actor

  • 665 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 05 1998

Posted August 11 2001 - 05:37 PM

This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Session 9". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread. Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning! Again, without warning, I will delete all posts that are not a HTF member review! Thank you for your consideration in this matter. Dugger


#3 of 19 OFFLINE   Julie K

Julie K


  • 1,963 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 01 2000

Posted August 12 2001 - 05:00 PM

I really enjoyed this movie (even if I did leave the theater feeling somewhat shellshocked - but isn't that the feeling horror is supposed to leave you with?). This is the film that Blair Witch wanted to be, but failed at.

It's not for everyone. It moves slowly. I haven't been able to believe my good fortune at finding two movies, Session 9 and The Others, that haven't been afraid to take their time at setting up the story and mood instead of jumping into non-stop action.

I for one would be extremely pleased if teeny bopper slasher fare becomes extinct and the new horror is born from Session 9 and The Others.


"Some people think I'm over-prepared, paranoid...maybe even a little crazy. But they never met any pre-Cambrian life forms, did they?"
"I have the heart of a child. I keep it in a jar on my shelf."
"The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it."

#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

Michael Reuben

    Studio Mogul

  • 21,769 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 12 1998

Posted August 16 2001 - 10:55 AM

I enjoyed Session 9 more than The Others. While Session 9 isn't as tightly constructed, it benefits from the novelty of its setting. It's hard to forget, when you're watching The Others, that the setting is a classic location for a ghost story. Session 9 has a setting unlike any I've seen before, and the place itself gave me the creeps. Perhaps because I found the setting so interesting to explore (from the safety of a movie theater!), the film never felt slow to me. I concur with Jason's observations about the quality of the hi-def digital photography. The color, clarity and detail are astonishing, which is even more remarkable if (as I suspect) the 2.35:1 framing was created by cropping a 1.78:1 image. I know there are a lot of technical arguments about film vs. digital, but as far as I'm concerned, Session 9 answers all the objections. This format delivers the goods. M.
COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   Mark Cappelletty

Mark Cappelletty


  • 2,202 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 06 1999

Posted August 20 2001 - 11:19 PM

Saw this in LA tonight after getting back from vacation yesterday. USA Films doesn't seem to know how to open a film if the executives' lives depended on it (Series 7 -- which I saw in freakin' March -- never hit Cincinnati, where my best friend lives, at all), so who knows when it'll hit the Midwest. While not without its problems, particularly the too-rushed ending, this is an extremely frightening and atmospheric piece that literally had me jittering with nervous tension. Peter Mullan (from the great, largely unseen The Claim) is rock-solid and the writers do a terrific job in peeling back his unhappy life layer by layer. I can't remember when I saw a good horror movie in the theaters (I think it was Stir of Echoes, nearly 2 years ago!) and to get this and The Others in the same week is a most enjoyable -- and frightening -- one-two punch. The 24-frame digital photography is largely rock-solid, but not perfect yet. It looked more like blown-up 16mm than 35mm stock, but that could just be becuase I knew this was digital to begin with.

#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Holadem


    Lead Actor

  • 8,972 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 04 2000

Posted August 22 2001 - 07:06 AM

This is one movie that left me COLD. It has some memorable scenes (power outage) but overall it was just too dull. I found the voice "DO it now.." very annoying. The ending just didn't work for me. I felt like we were supposed to say "wow, so that is what happened" and found out I didn't care what happened. This is no "The Others". Oh well... -- Holadem

#7 of 19 OFFLINE   Andres Munoz

Andres Munoz


  • 2,494 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 21 1999

Posted April 07 2004 - 08:23 AM

Spoiler Alert: This thread is not recommended if you haven't watched the movie! . . . I'm really confused after watching this movie. So what was the relationship between Mary and her multiple personalities (as heard on the session tapes) and the killer? Gordon never listened to the tapes so why did he flip out?

#8 of 19 OFFLINE   Justin_S



  • 3,577 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 04 2001

Posted April 07 2004 - 01:42 PM

Gordon flipped out because the Simon entity from the session tapes possessed him. Notice that Gordon hears the voice before the tapes are even discovered. There's also the classic end quote by Simon which gives even further proof to this. As for Mary, Princess and Billy were her only true multiple personalities, while Simon was an entity that had possessed her.

#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Andres Munoz

Andres Munoz


  • 2,494 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 21 1999

Posted April 12 2004 - 12:46 PM

But there is no indication that Gordon gets possessed by anything. And the weird thing is this. Towards the end of the movie and by the sound of it (because it wasn't shown) we find out that Gordon actually killed his wife and kid and even his dog. Now this happened even before he got the job, didn't it? I mean, wasn't he already limping the first time we saw him? And his limp was caused by the incident with his wife in the kitchen where he burns his leg with boiling water. This incident ends with Gordon just going nuts and killing his family. I don't know. Maybe I got the timeline wrong but I don't think so. It looks more like Gordon just flipped but again, there is not much explanation as to why.

#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Justin_S



  • 3,577 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 04 2001

Posted April 12 2004 - 02:08 PM

Gordon kills them after he first visits Danvers. He also first heard Simon's voice when he was staring at the wheelchair. I see it that he was definitely possessed. That's my take anyways.

#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Andres Munoz

Andres Munoz


  • 2,494 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 21 1999

Posted April 12 2004 - 04:36 PM

And a valid take it is Justin. I'm curious to know, why do you think Gordon killed after his first visit to the hospital and not before?

#12 of 19 OFFLINE   Rich Romero

Rich Romero

    Supporting Actor

  • 731 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 06 2002

Posted November 04 2005 - 02:44 AM

Sorry to dig up this old thread, but I'd like to know this same thing:


I'm curious to know, why do you think Gordon killed after his first visit to the hospital and not before?

My DVD's "There's no love in fear." - Maynard James Keenan

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Andy Sheets

Andy Sheets


  • 2,371 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 06 2000

Posted November 04 2005 - 05:48 AM

I guess the supernatural reading is that he was possessed by "Simon". The alternative is that the ongoing stress of his job and home situation simply made him snap. FWIW, I believe the movie was inspired by a real case of a man with no history of mental illness or criminal record who came home one day, murdered his wife, and then went back to his usual daily routine as if nothing had happened.

#14 of 19 OFFLINE   Holadem


    Lead Actor

  • 8,972 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 04 2000

Posted November 04 2005 - 07:24 AM


Anyway, it looks fantastic, 2.35 widescreen and no hint of grain,

[quote]My one screening of this movie was in the theater so my memory may be faulty, but I remember it as a definitely grainy picture. It couldn't have been the presentation, it was a good theater. Weird eh?



#15 of 19 OFFLINE   JohnRice


    Lead Actor

  • 8,683 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 20 2000
  • Real Name:John

Posted November 04 2005 - 12:21 PM

Personally, I always took it that...
Gordon had just flipped due to stress. The recordings just added atmosphere to the film.
I think it works quite well. I'm in the group who thinks there needs to be more horror like this and The Others.

The Hybrid System

The Music Part: Emotiva XSP-1, Thiel CS 3.6, Emotiva XPA-2, Marantz SA8004, Emotiva ERC-3, SVS PB-12 Plus 2

The Surround Part: Sherbourn PT-7030, Thiel SCS3, Emotiva XPA-5, Polk & Emotiva Surrounds.

#16 of 19 OFFLINE   chicklopez289



  • 1 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 04 2010

Posted July 04 2010 - 09:44 AM

I just saw this movie, and after reading yalls reviews Im still lost. It would make alot more sense if Gordon got "possessed" by Simon. The problems I have are that the room that is suppsed to be Mary's has pictures everywhere of Gordon, his wife and baby. Did he post up the pictures when he was supposed to be cleaning the place up? Someone told me this movie was supposed to be like Identity, in that everyone is a personality of one (likely Gordon or Phil). But its not likely that the pictures are actually Mary as a baby and her father and mother...considering her brother is no where in the pictures. To me, it seems as if they tried to do too many things in one movie.  

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   caravella1978



  • 1 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 07 2010

Posted November 08 2010 - 01:19 AM

Here's what I think...when Gordon and Jeff were sitting on the tree outside, Jeff mentioned that he had the pictures developed from Emma's (Gordons baby) baptism.  I think (maybe?) after Gordon killed Jeff and got the pictures and hung them up.  Just my take...IT WAS REALLY CONFUSING!!

#18 of 19 OFFLINE   wallygatorca



  • 1 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 10 2011

Posted February 10 2011 - 07:14 PM

You need to watch this movie a few times before it comes into focus.  There are many layers involved, but not all that require some great deal of intelligence, just an involved and awake brain will do.  The movie can be slow for sure, but it's great when you start to figure it out.  The only leap of faith you need to take is that of a supernatural possession.  The movie's trailer even displays the word "possession", so you know it was the director's intention.  Red herrings galore.  Just stay with the thought that it is real, the characters are real, except for a possession.  It can get your mind reaching for other ideas, because it's good art.  Realize it's real, and it works...well.    I won't spoil because it's a cool gift to unwrap and it would take up too much of my time to explain all the nuances here.  Definitely underrated, and I can see why, it's tough too get the first time through.

#19 of 19 OFFLINE   TonyD


    Who do we think I am?

  • 16,754 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 01 1999
  • Real Name:Tony D.
  • LocationDisney World and Universal Florida

Posted February 12 2011 - 08:28 PM

Wow this just keeps popping back up every few years or so. Whatever happened to Dugger?

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users