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Session 9

Director:Brad Anderson
Writers:Brad Anderson and Stephen Gevedon
USA Films; R; 100 minutes
Release:8/01
Cast:David Caruso, Stephen Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle

Director Brad Anderson achieved acclaim for his smart, well-scripted films such as Next Stop Wonderland. Session 9 sees him venture onto supernatural terrain. The setup and execution draw from The Shining's tightening Gothic madness and upgrade Blair Witch Project's unsettling minimalism.

Session 9 concerns a rush job of asbestos removal in the grand dilapidated Danvers Mental Hospital outside of Boston. This place was once a full-fledged “lunatic asylum” complete with rumors of bizarre patient experiments. David Caruso, co-screenwriter Stephen Gevedon, and Paul Guilfoyle are part of the five-man team contracted to perform the dangerous work. Their loose working-class ensemble meshes well, and Anderson coaxes fine characterization out of the situation. Two are butting heads over a girl, one is afraid of the dark and another obsesses over disturbing tapes of a psychiatrist's sessions with his multiple-personality female patient. These elements, arranged with pitch-perfect on-location ambience would be enough to scare the average moviegoer. But it soon becomes apparent that a more malicious force is at work.

Session 9 is elegant, economical, and chilling: a perfect summertime antidote to feel-good cinema fluff.


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