Sunday, 22 June 2008

My New Favourite Film

Contains Spoilers for Session 9

This movie cropped up on the Sci-Fi channel recently, and what a little gem it is (something about the title rang a bell so I recorded it, only to discover later that Mr Arnopp recommended it on his esteemed blog last year – which means I’m only twelve months behind the curve).

I’ll try to give you a flavour without going all spoiler-tastic on your ass, but it’s a hugely effective horror cum ghost story. Filmed almost entirely on location in a deserted mental asylum (Danvers State Hospital, now apparently torn down to make way for swanky apartments), the emphasis is very firmly placed on character and a slow sense of creeping dread that will scare the bajesus out of you (well, it did me). Even though it is shot on digital video, the cinematography by Uwe Brieseitz is stunning – there is certainly more than a touch of The Shining about it, but where The Shining was filmed on a series of huge, purpose built sets, every location you see in Session 9 is real – which makes the whole thing that little bit more frightening. The cast – including Peter Mullan and David Caruso – turn in stellar performances, and the script is a veritable mine of ambiguity, where the major sub plot may or may not have much to do with the primary narrative (the sort of thing that would have script readers the world breaking out in mass cardiac arrests). The director, Brad Anderson, went on to make The Machinist, so you know you’re in safe hands.

Even if you don’t like horror as a genre (and let’s face it, Session 9 is certainly not your usual horror flick), give this a go – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised as well as severely creeped out – and who could want anything more from a film than that?

4 comments:

Tom said...

Looking back, I seem to have said "Good, but could have been better" I did like its attempt at creepy and its atmosphere but wasn't so taken with the direction or meandering script. Or the annoying plinky plonky piano score. But several months on and I would watch it again and that can only be a good thing.

Chip Smith said...

As far as I can tell, the general criticism regarding Session 9 revolved around the script - I quite liked its meandering nature as it very much a 'slow burn' type of film, which I love. I'm not so enamoured of the million loose ends that flap about at the film's conclusion, but at least it made a nice change from having everything explained for you...

Jason Arnopp said...

Wahey! A Session 9 buddy!

Now if I can just get you to love My Little Eye...

Chip Smith said...

Tell you what, there's absolutely nothing wrong with My Little Eye - it does what any good horror film should do in my book, and that's leave you with the feeling that you've just been hit round the back of the head with a shovel, which is fine by me...