Horror Review: Session 9 (2001)

Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back.

Some movies you just don’t expect to be as good as they turn out to be and end up shocking you even more, that what this movie did to me.

This film was one that people kept telling me to watch, when this usually happens I try not to until the hype calms down and I can watch it with a bit less pressure, I wish I hadn’t done that when this film was released.
Apparently Brad Anderson was inspired to use the Danvers Mental Hospital as he drove past it every day. Because of this the script was specifically written to take place there and they’re a perfect match.
The film takes you on a psychological roller coaster and is full of beautifully filmed haunting shots making for some very atmospheric viewing. It just draws you in the more it goes on and it can become a somewhat, intimidating experience.
This film certainly isn’t for everyone, it’s a thinking person’s movie and due to this it does have a limited fan base but for those of us who can enjoy it have an amazing film to enjoy over and over again.
The less you know about “Session 9” the better, just at least give it a try.

If you want to see “Session 9” trailer then just click on the video below:

Miscellaneous facts about the film:

Actor David Caruso reports in the official Production Notes that he saw “something pass my window” when shooting inside the Bonner Medical Building of Danvers State Hospital. “I didn’t want to tell anybody, because people would start looking at me strangely…”

Only 3 rooms had additions outside of the natural setting for atmosphere, the kitchen had meat hooks hung, the tunnel had plastic surgical gloves hung up, and the hydrotherapy room had a metal tub added. Almost everything else related to the asylum setting was found on site as the crew scoured the building for set dressing to keep things authentic.

Behind the tunnel with the rubber gloves, the cast and crew signed the wall. Brad Anderson wrote: “We did ASBESTOS we could!”

The fictional “Patricia Willard scandal” at Danvers State Hospital, cited by Mike at the film’s beginning, strongly appears to have been inspired by a real-life wave of problematic “Satanism and sex-abuse” allegations that swept the United States circa the 1980s, including (among others) one involving the Amirault family in nearby Malden, Massachusetts. Reporter Dorothy Rabinowitz won a Pulitzer Prize for her book chronicling that bizarre case, “No Crueler Tyrannies: Accusation, False Witness, and Other Terrors of Our Times,” in 2001.

This was one of the first feature films shot using Sony’s 24P HD video, which shoots at 24 frames per second, like film, as opposed to the 30 frames per second of conventional NTSC video. Using this technology, Brad Anderson and director of photography Uta Briesewitz were able to produce the uniquely effective, deep-focus images using mostly natural light.

The movie is mentioned in the book Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz. The book takes place one night in Danvers State Hospital. A group of teens spend the night to film a movie, and encounter supernatural events – much like the psychological aspect of this movie. The main character in the book references the group’s actions as reminding him of Brad Anderson’s movie Session 9.

Mary Hobbes’ paperwork states she was fourteen years old in 1951 when the murders took place and it was 1974 when she was committed and interviewed, so Mary would have been thirty-seven.

David Caruso ad-libbed the line “It’s going to get ugly.”

The film unit only ever used a very small percentage of the building as most of it was off limits as it was unsafe.

Almost the entire film was shot in the Kirkbride administration complex, (wing or ward F) but many scenes were filmed in the tunnels, the roof, and wings A, B, C, D, and E.

The scene shot outside Danvers when Bill (‘Paul Guilfoyle’) and Gordon (Peter Mullan) are discussing the bid for the asbestos abatement job, apparently a student pilot was flying circles overhead for about 3 hours. This forced the talent and crew to film the sequence in spurts starting when the plane was furthest away and stopping as it grew nearer.

Very few sets were built for this film.

The grave markers in the cemetery and the doors in the morgue were made of Styrofoam. The morgue was cleared out already, so they had to bring in props.

Brad Anderson had Brendan Sexton III in mind to play Jeff while writing the script.

Brad Anderson was originally going to use a spinning camera motif throughout the whole movie.

Though uncredited, this was the last film to be released by October Films.

The deleted scenes from the film reveal a subplot that was unused in the film.

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