A vacant insane asylum is the setting for "Session 9," which aims to be a smart, old-fashioned thriller but falls back on Hollywood clichÄs when what it needs is brains.
By JOSHUA TANZER
"Session 9" tries to be a back-to-basics thriller without the special effects, buckets of blood and evil dolls that talk. Unfortunately, the filmmakers forgot to replace the horror-film formula with a plot that makes sense.
The story starts with asbestos-removal professionals Gordon (Peter Mullan) and Phil (David Caruso) waiting to get into a vacant former mental hospital and they're not the only ones. The security man tells them the facility has to be closely guarded, to keep inmates not in but out. "Oh yeah, a lot of them wound up out on the streets when they closed down, and they want to come back."
|Directed by: Brad Anderson.|
Written by: Brad Anderson, Stephen Gevedon.
Cast: David Caruso, Stephen Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle, Josh Lucas, Peter Mullan, Brendan Sexton III, Charley Broderick.
Related links: Official site
Once in, the pair promise to get the asbestos job done in a near-impossible two weeks, which means big-time pressure for the whole five-man team once they get started. Meanwhile, they start to make strange discoveries, like the tapes of counseling sessions (thus the title) and odd artifacts within the walls.
This all sounds like an interesting setup for an intense psychological drama if the payoff is something other than the standard Hollywood-issue crazed maniac hacking people to bits for no reason. But it isn't. The only question at the end is which of the fivesome is the crazed maniac, and frankly, by that time, it doesn't matter and it doesn't make sense either. The character development and the mysterious discoveries are nothing but diversions if they have anything at all to do with the horror-show finale, I have no idea what it is.
Ultimately, just like any of its schlockier cousins, "Session 9" runs out of ideas and resorts to petty manipulations to try to give us the creeps instead of a plot. It could have done much more.
|AUGUST 18, 2001|
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GONE from CrapBall, Sep 1, 2006
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