Directed by: Brad Anderson
Written by: Brad Anderson, Stephen Gevedon
Starring: Peter Mullan, David Caruso, Josh Lucas, Brendon Sexton III, Paul Guilfoyle
Film Review by: Rachel Pullen
Session 9 Movie Review
I am a mental person...shocked I know? I'm so sane and in control, my film reviews ooze professionalism and logical thinking right? How could I have possibly been in a mental ward? How could I have possibly lost my grip on reality? Well, the jokes on you. I never had a grip on reality, and for that, I'm actually pleased because when I do slip into the dark bleak (and sometimes fun) insanity that my brain likes to produce, no one is surprised...but what must it be like to witness the sanest person you know, the one who has it seemingly all together...suddenly snap?
Well obviously you would have that person taken to a mental hospital and provide them with the adequate health care, but conveniently Session 9 covers the concept of losing your mind when you’re just an average fellow, already in an abandoned mental hospital, how convenient...cut out the commute, just lose it in the asylum and save on cab fare, I have been doing it wrong all these years.
Session 9 takes place in Danver State Hospital, a place that has sat abandoned for quite some time - fun movie fact, it’s an actual real place which they just dumped themselves in and did no set dressing, just used what the building gave them - a team of young men are brought in to remove the asbestos in an incredibly short amount of time, the pressure is on to get the job done. Gord (played by Peter Mullan) is the man in charge, a man weighed down by external stresses, who decides to add to his weight by claiming they can get a 3-week job done in only 1 week...silly Gord, don't you know stress is the number 1 killer?
As the team push themselves to the limit, each member seems to fall deeper and deeper into their own personal mental hole, slowly but surely their personal demons seem to bubble to the surface, as their time in the hospital drags on and it’s not long before one of them completely loses it...but the question is who?
Session 9 likes to make you feel like you’re going crazy, for this film is a constant whodunnit, a constant finger-pointer, a film where power struggles are an everyday thing within the crew, they all have secrets, they all have lies that they are hiding...some have hurt others, some have hurt their loved ones, but which of them is coming unglued first?
Do you like tension? Sure, if you didn't you wouldn't be watching Session 9, because this film sweats tension like me checking my bank account...with its constant slow pace throughout the start of the film, we are already living in a world of suspicion and a feeling of unrest, we know something is afoot, foul in the air, but can’t quite figure out who, or what it is. The build-up is solid and consistent and so when we come to the final half of the movie, all that tension is about to overflow with a climatic and compelling finale, one that spills over making an asbestos-based mess on the lino flooring.
Now I don't want to give the ending away, because I want you to go away and watch this, I want you to feel the unease that comes with every watch of Session 9, I want you to question every motive and movement of each character, for that's what Session 9 wants as well. This movie gives you everything and so much more, if you’re a fan of slow-burning suspense thrillers then get your mitts on this gem, wrap them around it and fall in love with the 24fps, the amazing cast, location, script and red herrings, the way the film makes you question yourself, and your sanity and become one of the crew.
With shots and lighting effects that create such an atmosphere that it feels like you can smell the building, that you can feel the damp on your skin, there is no way you can overlook the attention to detail that has gone into every shot, into every introduction to the different areas of the hospital. There are very few films in the world that can create such atmosphere but Session 9 will take you right to the front door of Danvers State Hospital and let you make yourself at home...if you can handle it that is.