Brad Anderson’s criminally underrated psychological thriller filmed at the actual Danvers State Insane Asylum in Danvers, Massachusetts. Session 9 finds an asbestos abatement crew dealing with the real or imagined specters that still haunt the disturbed walls of the asylum.
The elements that make Session 9 work so well are the same elements that make John Carpenter’s The Thing the terrifying masterpiece that it is. A sense of isolation. In this case an asbestos abatement team working in an abandoned mental asylum. The fact that these are grown men in danger, not teenagers and not women, but fully grown, capable men. Lastly, the threat here is unseen as it is for most of the Thing. Session 9 does a really good job at keeping the threat vague but still very menacing. Is the asylum haunted? Are the men being possessed? Is the danger coming from within or without? The uncertainty of the film helps to add to the already eerie atmosphere created by the hospital itself. A very unsettling and at times truly frightening movie, Session 9 is criminally underrated and will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.
Session 9 Fun Fact: The film was actually shot in and around the real Danvers State Hospital, an abandoned mental institution in Danvers, Massachusetts. The hospital is also believed to be the inspiration behind H.P. Lovecraft’s infamous Arkham Asylum.