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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Dir. Brad Anderson

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

SESSION 9 is a once in a generational psychological thriller that bears very little resemblance to the normal frame of a horror film but by the end grabs you so hard it will haunt you forever after.

Like SE7EN and SAW the film is as solid a drama as it is a tense breakdown of psychology. 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.

The setting of a mental hospital is a byproduct of the real events unfolding and as the crew get further frustrated with each other with the tough job at hand, the surrounding factors and a patient discovery unfold in tandem to the films horrifyingly hair raising conclusion.

At its best, SESSION 9 showcases some of the best actors of this generation giving their best in one of the genres treasured gems. David Caruso (CSI: MIAMI), Peter Mullan (CHILDREN OF MEN) and Josh Lucas (THE FOREVER PURGE) don't hold back and their journey through a frantic week is as gripping as it is tense.

Accompanied by Climax Golden Twins' skin crawling soundtrack, it's bemusing that there's not real horror until the film's final chapter but the tension built towards the fil's shocking conclusion is both taut and rewarding. Accompanying Brad Anderson's film that is as relevant in 2023 as it was on 2001 really proves to the film's humanity and understanding of what it is to make someone go over the edge. Sometimes it's the big things, sometimes the little but we all have a boiling point and SESSION 9 proves that when those lines are crossed, there's no turning back. Twinning these character driven arcs, is the tale of one of the hospital's inmates which on it's own is an interesting tell tale and one that will send the imagination and predictability of the plot in one direction, leaving Anderson to pull an ace out of his sleave in the cutting moments.

SESSION 9 remains a hidden gem even 21 years after it's release and deserves so much more exposure, in film, let alone the genre. It truly is a cinematic masterpiece that is par with the psychology of THE SHINING and the horror of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.

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