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Blu-ray Review: Session 9
Adam Frazier   |  @   |  

Blu-ray Review: Session 9

Session 9
Directed by: Brad Anderson
Written by: Brad Anderson, Stephen Gevedon
Cast: David Caruso, Peter Mullan, Stephen Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle, Josh Lucas, Brendan Sexton III
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated R | 100 Minutes
Release Date: August 16, 2016

“Do it, Gordon…”

Co-written and directed by Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Stonehearst Asylum), Session 9 has become something of a cult classic over the last 15 years. After premiering at the Fantasia International Film Festival, the low-budget horror film was given a limited release by Universal Pictures on August 10, 2001.

It would take a lot of positive buzz from and multiple appearances on “The Best Horror Movies You Haven’t Seen” lists for the film to gain momentum and find its audience on home video. Now, for the first time, the film is available on Blu-ray thanks to the fine folks at Scream Factory.

Shot in 24p HD digital video, Session 9 follows an asbestos abatement crew working in the Danvers State Hospital, an abandoned mental asylum in Massachusetts. Gordon Fleming (Peter Mullan, Tyrannosaur), the cash-strapped owner of a small asbestos removal company, needs a high-paying gig to support his wife and their new baby. He convinces town engineer Bill Griggs (Paul Guilfoyle, Spotlight) that his team can clear the Danvers Hospital in just one week. His team consists of Mike (Stephen Gevedon), a law school dropout; Phil (David Caruso, CSI: Miami), a bitter Bostonian whose girlfriend just left him; Hank (Josh Lucas, American Psycho), who Phil lost his girlfriend to; and Jeff (Brendan Sexton III, Empire Records), Gordon’s mulleted nephew, who has an intense fear of the dark.

As work begins inside the asylum, Mike finds a box full of audio tapes – interviews with Mary Hobbes, a patient with dissociative identity disorder. These sessions aim to uncover Mary’s multiple personalities, as well as what happened on Christmas night twenty-two years ago. As Mike digs further into Mary’s past, tensions escalate among the crew and strange things start happening in the asylum. As madness overtakes them, the crew attempts to escape Danvers before they become permanent residents.

Session 9 is an atmospheric, unsettling psychodrama that recalls classic horror films such as The Haunting and The Shining. It’s an effectively creepy slow burn with some quality performances from Mullan, Caruso, and the rest of the ensemble. I mean, is there a more iconic delivery of the line than David Caruso’s life-altering “Fuck you!” I ask? I think not! Anderson’s film is certainly one of those “secret handshake” titles amongst diehard horror fans, a film that deserves a bigger audience and, hopefully, will get one thanks to this Blu-ray release. Who knows, ten years from now maybe Anderson’s film will show up on more “Best Horror Movies Ever” lists than “Best You Haven’t Seen” ones.

Scream Factory’s release includes a 2.35:1 1080p transfer presentation with an English DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio track. Considering the original digital source, this is a pretty great transfer – certainly an improvement over the previous DVD release, with sharp details, bright colors, and solid black levels. If you’re a fan of this cult film, or perhaps a horror fan looking for something new to satiate your cravings, Session 9 is an absolute must-own. For more information on this offering’s special features, keep reading!

Special Features

Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of Session 9 comes with several special features including the brand new Return To Danvers: The Secrets Of Session 9. This 49-minute making-of documentary features interviews with Brad Anderson, Stephen Gevedon, Josh Lucas, Brendan Sexton III, and Larry Fessenden, as well as director of photography Uta Briesewitz and composers The Climax Golden Twins.

Also included, Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – Revisiting The Locations Of The Film. Host Sean Clark travels to Danvers, Massachusetts only to discover the old haunted hospital has become home to high-end condos. Since he can’t access the location, he shows us some footage he recorded of inside the haunted hospital he took shortly after the film was released. There’s an audio commentary with Anderson and Gevedon, deleted scenes and an alternate ending (with commentary by Anderson), “Story to Screen” and “The Haunted Palace” featurettes, and a theatrical trailer.

Session 9 is now available on Blu-ray at Amazon. For a full list of Scream Factory releases, check out their website.


Cover Art

Session 9 Scream Factory Blu-ray Cover Art

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1 Comment »

  1. Just watched this movie for the first time last night- totally unnerving. Not exactly what you SEE….but what you HEAR.

    Comment by Steven Arthur — September 9, 2016 @ 9:24 am

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