31 Days of Horror: Session 9

31 Days of Horror - October 2011When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline.

Synopsis: The phrase “insane asylum” doesn’t begin to describe Danvers State Hospital. The now-derelict institution is a massive ruin, shuttered in the ’80s due to federal budget cuts and its controversial practices. Gordon Fleming owns a HazMat removal business and aggressively bids on a contract to strip asbestos from the site, because he desperately needs the work. But is it just the money that’s drawing him to this project … or is he a man haunted? And as long as we’re tackling hypothetical questions, does being forcibly lobotomized on the job qualify you for workers comp?

Killer Scene

Session 9 is a subtle thriller that doesn’t drown you in gore, but twists its rusty screws bit by bit. So, it’s not surprising that its most enduring image is one that’s more poignant than shocking. It’s the second-to-the-last shot in the film, but I can’t say much about it without totally spoiling the movie. It will suffice to say that Session 9’s conclusion, while open-ended, doesn’t reek of sequel bait. It leaves you grieving for innocence lost, and dreading the prospect of an evil that never dies.



1.5 Skulls Out of 5

As noted above, this is not a particularly bloody film. But when the murders are finally shown on-camera, the imagery is suitably unpleasant. Sensitive viewers might find the deaths … uh … migraine-inducing.


0 Skulls Out of 5

No sex to speak of, unless the mere sight of David Caruso gets you wet and/or hard.


1 Skull Out of 5

Session 9 doesn’t deliver many jump-scares. It creates a palpable, constant sense of dread through atmosphere, sound design, and vigorous mind-fucking.

Final Thoughts

Session 9 is a must-see if haunted house movies are your thing. It respectably holds its own against the classics of the genre, while bearing the unique virtue of having been shot in a real insane asylum. Although the film is a work of fiction, Danvers existed and was rumored to be haunted. Whether or not those rumors are true, there’s no denying Session 9’s menacing power.

Check out more of our 31 Days of Horror

J.L. Sosa is a freelance writer, photographer and horror filmmaker. He's burdened with an irrational fear of spiders and clowns. He loves (in descending order of magnitude) his girlfriend, his pets and spinach.

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