Saturday, October 24, 2020

31 Days of Halloween - Day 24 - Movie

An asbestos removal team is hired to clean up the interior of the long closed, and infamous, Danvers State Mental Hospital. Their interpersonal conflicts and the stress of the job are exasperated when one of the men goes missing and others start acting strangely, leading to tragedy and violence.

Session 9 (2001) is a movie I've wanted to see since it came out, but only finally gotten to now. I always anticipated spotting the Danvers facility when I was a kid and my family drove to New Hampshire, and it could be seen from the highway. It looked haunted and back then, such facilities had less politically correct names attached to them, so my imagination, fed by years of regular horror movie viewing and comic book reading,  ran wild with the possibilities of what was inside that place. At the time it was still functioning as a mental hospital.

Part of the appeal to me about Session 9 was that it was actually filmed within the building (which in high school, not long after it closed, I admittedly made an illegal night time exploration of ) and on its grounds. The movie turned out to be very different from what i was expecting. There are no ghosts, the facility filmed mostly in bright daylight is no more menacing than any other abandoned building, and while there is physical violence introduced into the film, most of the menace is of the psychological variety, and even that is very moderate.

Is it even a horror movie? Not really. It's not even really a crime thriller. There aren't really any scares. I found the movie to be completely engaging if a little disappointing. If you're someone who is familiar with the Danvers facility, and the notoreity is has obtained since it closed, it's worth a look because you really get to see a lot of the building. But, if you are looking for something creepy with scares, you'll be disappointed.

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