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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Maythew #7: Session 9 (2001)


*

Director: Brad Anderson
Starring: David Caruso, Peter Mullan, Josh Lucas

If Session 9 had been the first movie my brother and I watched for Maythew, the series probably wouldn't have gotten off the ground. This is easily one of the worst movies I've ever seen. It's not scary, it's not interesting either in terms of narrative or in terms of its visual aesthetic, it's just dull. Dull, dull, dull.

The plot (if you care and you shouldn't) involves an asbestos cleaning crew that has been hired to work in a long closed mental hospital. The crew includes Gordon (Peter Mullen), Phil (David Caruso), Hank (Josh Lucas), Mike (Stephen Gevedon), and Jeff (Brendan Sexton III). Jeff is new, Phil and Hank are constantly at each other's throats over a woman, and something is obviously wrong with Gordon. As for Mike, he quickly disappears from work to sit down in the basement listening to old tapes of a patient with multiple personalities.

The film tries to emulate the atmosphere of The Shining, making it appear that the building itself is having an effect on the actions and attitudes of the workers. Is the building haunted? Evil? Are former patients still lurking around, waiting to do damage? In truth evil is brought into the building by the workers, specifically Gordon who is in the midst of an intense mental crisis. As his inner turmoil begins to bubble to the surface, the situation for everyone else becomes increasingly desperate - whether they know it or not.

The problems I have with Session 9 as a film are myriad, but I'll try to narrow them down to a few. The narrative is not cohesive, for one thing, and the story feels like horror's greatest themes slapped together. The characters are paper thin and their motivations are never properly defined. Perhaps worst of all, the film simply feels lazy. It relies too heavily on the viewer's emotional response to other films and tropes from the genre without bringing anything new to the table. It feels like a student project, to be honest, and not a particularly good one.

Matt's Thoughts: Session 9...is a cinematic abortion. I have no idea what I thought this movie was, but it most definitely was not this.

The characters gained no development through the film, the storyline was non-existant, and the most interesting character can be found only in the deleted scenes.

Session 9 was a last-minute addition to the Maythew viewing list due to our local video store having an insanely poor selection. There were about 8 other movies that I would have rather seen that had to be cut from the list, and I'm pretty sure I just ended up hitting 'random page' on wikipedia and landing on this.

The most confusing part of the movie is that it has 'generally positive reviews' all over the internet. Session 9 ruined my chances at Maythew 2: Electric Boogaloo. I am, as they say, disappoint.

2 comments:

Mike Lippert said...

Wow, I think this movie is just short of being a masterpiece. Not scary? I find the night scene with Josh Lucas in the basement to be just about as terrifying as anything I can think of. The scene where Brendon Sexton has to outrun the darkness is visually brillant and like nothing I've seen before and the twist is genuinly hard to see coming. I've watched this movie at least four times now and every time it still grips me. Did we see the same movie?

Norma Desmond said...

I realize that mine is a minority opinion but I just didn't much of value in this movie. The scene where Sexton outruns the darkness is well done but that's really the only thing that stuck out for me.