Friday, February 18, 2011

'Session 9' is atmospheric and incoherent

Session 9 (2001)
Starring: David Caruso, Joshua Lucas, and Peter Mullen
Director: Brad Anderson
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

Five construction workers specializing in cleaning up hazerdous material take on the job of getting a massive, long-abandoned mental hospital ready for refurbishing. As they being their work, however, something starts to stir in the shadowy corners of the vast building, as well as in the dark corners of the men's souls.

"Session 9" does a great job as evoking the mood of a house that is haunted by evil--and it does it through perfectly mundane means. It also does a great job at keeping enough questions floating in the air to keep the viewers guessing as to what is happening both inside and outside the hospital's decaying walls. Where "Session 9" fails utterly is to pull the story elements--I can't call them plot-threads, because this movie is virtually plot free when it comes right down to it--into a coherent story or even a sensible, scary ending.

This is a film that's got plenty of potential--the idea of Everyday Joe's getting wrapped up in something horrific is very neat--but either the filmmakers were too talentless or too wrapped up in what they thought was clever and artful to deliver a decent horror movie (or even a decent "twist-ending" suspense film).

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