Session 9

Session 9

I was curious about this low-budget indie horror movie specifically because it was shot in Danvers, Massachusetts - the city in which I was born. Thankfully, I wasn't born in the film's central location, the now derelict state mental institution, where five macho construction workers (led by talented Scottish actor Peter Mullan and including the once-hot David Caruso) are hired to strip the asbestos from the property for the building's new owner.

Of course an abandoned nuthouse is full of bad memories and the threat of vengeful spirits, and one by one the men find themselves affected by their sinister surroundings. Eventually one of them disappears, at which point the film becomes more of a whodunit than a ghost story.

Shot on 24 frames-per-second video, using mostly natural lighting, the film's realistic, psychological approach to horror precludes any threat of real phantoms in the asylum, so you wait to see which of the five men is responsible for things going wrong. You'd better have a pretty nifty payoff for such an obvious set-up, and for me the climax fell short.

Session 9 is not that great, but it provides plenty of chills, and will undoubtedly find its own cult following in time. It may also be the first true entry in the so-called "new horror genre" that The Blair Witch Project supposedly inspired. It's much better than Blair Witch, if only because the performances are stronger and the camera doesn't shake all the time.