Session 9 - 3 out of 5
There's a lot of cliches in the world of horror. Vengeful spirits, all teenagers want to do is have sex constantly (actually, that's true in the real world), people are incapable of operating keys to get into a car/house when being chased by a killer, cats are stored in closets for some reason, fat, ugly comic relief guys get no action (true in real life also) and are second to die (black characters are always first)--so, if you're the fat, ugly black comic relief guy, you're doomed--and all mansions, graveyards, abandoned camps, boiler rooms and condemned asylums are filled with the potential for some scary shit that's about to go down.
|Uh oh...I think a Fiona Apple video is about to start...|
Session 9 takes place in a condemned metal institution where an asbestos removal crew find themselves. The job has the potential to be a fruitful one as it could be a big payday but the time-frame to complete it is short so tempers run hot. The bossman of the team; Gordon Fleming (Peter Mullan) has already enough on his plate as he finds himself feeling the stress of a new baby and marital problems, his Number 2; Phil (David Caruso) is having issues with another member of the team (Josh Lucas), his inexperienced nephew joins the crew (Brendan Sexton III) and the overall atmosphere is that everyone wants this job to be their last. Everything quickly starts to unravel as one crewman becomes obsessed with the case files of a former patient with multiple personalities and it seems someone may be out to put an end to the guys...permanently. Boy, those asbestos removal crews can be dangerously competitive.
I've never heard of this movie till my horror film guru friend recommended this one to me. Personally, I'm glad he did because I finally know where this odd Caruso .gif came from...
For the most part, Session 9 is pretty spooky as it creates a tension-filled atmosphere in a gloomy, creepy background but, overall, I wasn't that sacred. At parts, the film was slightly unnerving and unsettling but some major distractions would pull me out of the film and cease all delivery of true, spine-tingling terror.
|Damn it, a Fiona Apple video is starting.|
Number One) some of the acting was a big drawback to me. We all know David Caruso is a mix of hooky fun and leering creepiness with his hands on his hips on C.S.I.: Miami and he became an internet meme thanks to the formulaic witty one-liners smash cut to the show's opener. It was a sort of charm he had but his overly-intense acting often hurt the momentum of some scenes as he proved to be too intense too early in the film and it was hard not to chuckle.
Josh Lucas is one actor who is, to me, either passable or annoying. This film he seemed to be in-between as his performance is weak and he could have been replaced by any number of more talented actors who could have made the character more lively and less of a caricature. However, Lucas' character was easier to deal with than Brendan Sexton's obnoxious performance or Stephen Gevedon's (as the man obsessed with the multiple personalities case) lifeless delivery.
|90% of his scenes either had him sitting, standing still and I think there's one of|
him lying down.
Finally, the only other thing that held this one back for me was some campy scenes that harkened me back to the likes of Sleepaway Camp and made the end product of these sequences feel more comical than terrifying. The scene in particular is a nightmare sequence heavy on the metaphors that, ultimately, ended up looking silly thanks to an obvious dummy and the use of a cartoon scream sound effect that can be heard on one of those cheesy Halloween CD's that people buy for their low-rate haunted houses made for trick or treaters. Yes, this is an insanely specific complaint but, placed near the middle of the film towards the third act ended up killing all spooky feelings I was starting to experience and replaced by a fit of laughter.
|Guys, the dummy is back at the door again.|
Session 9 didn't succeed in scary me (don't worry though, not many horror films can) but that doesn't mean the film was a total failure. The story was great and the acting, while flawed, was passable. The film did a fantastic job at creating tension and atmosphere but a questionable scene here and there made the atmosphere thin out a bit for me. The twist at the end was kind of predictable but it was clear that the cast and crew were actually trying with this one. There weren't just making a hack gimmick that overstays its welcome in the first twenty minutes...which already makes it better than 90% of all other horror films made in the last twenty years.