Ever since The Blair Witch Projects broke records, the movie industry has been more willing to allow low-budget horror movies to hit the big screen. It's amazing what you can do with a low budget, and it is also amazing that Session 9 is able to take a good concept and screw it up.
Session 9 stars a bunch of relative no-names that take a job cleaning up asbestos at an old insane asylum. Of course, like all abandoned insane asylums, there is some creepy stuff that drives that characters mad. The plot is simple but could have been effective, had it not been watered down with boring character developments that weren't even any good. I was expecting a scary horror movie, and instead got a psychological thriller without any thrilling moments, and not much in the way of psychology.
It starts off bad from the start. We are introduced to a bunch of characters, but it feels as though the movie left out the part where we were actually introduced to them. They are talking about and referring to things that the audience has no clue about, yet the film acts as though we are supposed to. The point is that we are supposed to piece things together and at the end of the story, a dark secret will be revealed, but it really isn't an effective way to start off a movie. I don't want to be confused from the get go, especially in a mindless horror film.
The characters themselves aren't too entertaining, either. There is a "wide variety" of characters, ranging from the always-angry one to the goofy one to the greedy one to the younger guy with a mullet that looks like he was pulled right out of a twenty-year old movie. As time goes on, the characters bitch at each other more and more, acting as if their job is just so important. No offense to asbestos workers, but there are more important jobs in the world. As you'll find out at the end of the movie, should you choose to watch it against my advice, Session 9 is a character movie, just without character.
In terms of horror, Session 9 has very little. Most of the movie takes place during the day, and the climax even takes place in daylight. The creepiest part of the movie, where one of the workers is pursued down a pitch black corridor by someone or something, only lasts for a minute. There isn't anything even remotely exciting in the whole film.
The only interesting part of Session 9 is the small storyline where one of the workers listens to a bunch of old tapes of a psychologist interviewing a woman who has multiple personalities, one of which is a killer. Listening to the tapes was truly creepy, and also grabbed my attention. Strangely enough, these tapes are where the movie gets its title from ("Session 9" is the interview number with the patient), but the story the tapes tell never gets incorporated into the movie. I see where the screenwriter was trying to go with it, but I didn't see much of a connection.
By the end of the movie, I had already made up my mind. Session 9 is an utterly bad movie without much going for it. I have to admit that I was impressed by the little twist at the end, but by that point, the movie had lost.
If you want to see Session 9, change your mind.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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