Session 9 is creepy. It literally drips atmosphere and its setting (an imposing, castle-like former Asylum that closed in 1985 and is now a rundown building) adds to the films eerie tone. It's just too bad that scripters Brad Anderson (who also directed) and Stephen Gevedon (who co-stars) have written a story that leaves the viewer with lots of questions and is a bit confusing on the horror elements - even if the mood is there.
A small crew of workers who specialize in cleaning up hazardous materials in abandoned buildings (who's staff includes CSI: Miami star David Caruso and Peter Mullan) are hired by the city to go into the former asylum to clean it up so they can build the new city hall on the premises. They have a week to get the job done which puts loads of pressure on everyone there, but things get even more off-kilter when one of the workers uncovers the tape recordings of psychiatric sessions with a patient who suffers from multiple alter-egos.
Seems the tapes have some sort of supernatural power over the building and soon everyone is slowly being either driven insane or killed by an unknown force. How they manage to tie it all together at the end, while ambitious, actually manages to be the biggest problem with the story.
With lots of human drama mixed with slow burn psychological horror (the recorded tapes just help add to the spookiness), Session 9 is certainly an off-beat and commendable effort, and you really won't find a location that lends itself to a film much better than this one; but in the end you'll walk away a bit unnerved but at the same time unsure of what just went on.
My favourite moment here involves a morbid scene where one of the workers finds a stash of coins and jewelry behind some bricks in the wall... only for it to be connected to the cremation ovens. (Chris Hartley, 2/19/05)
Directed By: Brad Anderson.
Written By: Brad Anderson, Stephen Gevedon.
Starring: David Caruso, Peter Mullan, Stephen Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle.