Session 9 (2001)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Good set-up, good cast

Could have gone for more scares

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Session 9

Studio:  USA Films

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  July 2001 (Fantasy Film Festival)/August 10, 2001

MPAA Rating:  R


Welcome to the asylum!

Gordon Fleming (Peter Mullan) is running an asbestos removal crew working on a deadline.  To receive their bonus, they must strip the old Danvers State Hospital on a deadline and this means long hours in a location with a horrible history.  Gordon is dealing with a strained relationship with his wife while Phil (David Caruso) is trying to work with Hank Romero (Josh Lucas) who is sleeping with his ex-girlfriend.  Mike King (Stephen Gevedon) is a worker questioning his future, and Gordon’s nephew Jeff (Brendan Sexton III) is the new member of the crew.  When crew members start disappearing, it could be the legends of the asylum…or something even worse.

Directed by Brad Anderson, Session 9 is a horror supernatural thriller.  The movie received limited release and positive reviews from critics.  Since its release, Session 9 has gained a cult following.

I hadn’t seen Session 9 and had little expectations.  Though the film wasn’t as horrifying as I would have liked to be, I liked the set-up and what the movie attempted…I just wish there were more scares.


Wouldn’t it be scarier if we were doing an overnight shift here guys?

The story is a great way to start a horror film.  Often in horror films, characters have a bet to stay in a haunted house, are on a TV show, or various other cheesy cliché plot points that never happen in real life.  Here the idea of renovating and removing asbestos is very “real”.  An old place would need to be totally ripped out and time based incentives are the common way to motivate work.  With a great real set-up, I wish that the horror had been amplified.  I also feel that there could have been a better approach to the killings by providing more abstract clues to who the killer is and why he is there.  I suspected the ending from the beginning, and was surprised it ended as I suspected it would since the movie seemed a bit smarter than that.

The movie also sports a good cast.  With David Caruso riding the success of NYPD Blue (and his shocking decision to leave it), I kind of expected him to be the lead, but Peter Mullan is good as the leader of the crew who faces problems of his own.  Josh Lucas plays a fun slimy guy who’s taunting probably wouldn’t be acceptable in a real life situation and I have always enjoyed    from his early appearance in Welcome to the Dollhouse.


I love looking at insane people’s photo albums!

The movie looks great, but could have even looked better.  The characters are working in an abandoned insane asylum complete with underground tunnels.  I kept expecting a horrifying overnight shift with even more suspense, but mostly the film stuck to daytime experiences.  That in itself is a bit different, but I do think the film could have been scarier given its location.

Session 9 is an interesting film that doesn’t quite live up to its potential.  I liked to movie, but I think I could have loved the movie given some tweaks and adjustments.  Psychological horror is often scarier than supernatural horror and Session 9 does a nice job trying to blend the two but falls slightly short.  I do still recommend picking up for some nice creepy moments.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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