Brad Anderson’s 2001 film Session 9 is a fine, atmospheric horror film. It doesn’t break any new ground conceptually, but it is effectively tense and creepy. A hazmat team has a job removing asbestos from an abandoned mental hospital that dates back to the 19th century; there’s a lot of tension between the workers to begin with, and the pall cast by the location gradually drives them more and more nervous and unhinged. The film works well because all the small things are done just right: the pacing, the acting and characterization, the lighting, the effective use of a genuinely disturbing locale (Danvers, Mass., an actual abandoned Victorian-era asylum building). Best of all is the gliding camera that moves through halls as dilapidated as the ones in Kubrick’s The Shining (a film that Session 9 explicitly pays homage to) are sterile and clean. Shot apparently on digital video, but I wouldn’t have known this if I hadn’t read it–there is no attempt at Dogme-esque forgrounding of the medium, and the colors looked to me as deep and subtle as if they had been shot on film. All in all, a satisfying little movie, of the sort that is no longer made in Hollywood, but only by independent directors like Brad Anderson.
Brad Anderson’s 2001 film Session 9 is a fine, atmospheric horror film. It doesn’t break any new ground conceptually, but it is effectively tense and creepy.