SESSION 9 BLU RAY REVIEW

Early 2000 saw Brad Anderson unsettling horror creeper SESSION 9 hit the shelves and screens of the UK. I saw it on VHS and was rather impressed by its twisty, turning, visually sparse, psychological bombardment of the senses. It left me spooked and in a good way indeed. Coming back to it some 20 years later (almost should I say!), I and it have changed. Many a film has been seen. Many a horror has been the cause of leaps and creeps. Then rewatching SESSION 9 has changed before my eyes, much for worse.

When the now abandoned Danvers State Mental Hospital is to be cleaned up for a redevelopment, Asbestos removal company manager Gordon Fleming (Peter Mullan) promises a fast completion to win the tender. The crew are his usual people but they have their own histories and as they work together, tensions start to run high. Add to this the derelict building starting to press down on them with its own past of pain and madness, dark secrets hidden within its walls might manifest into reality.

So as I said before, I did not enjoy this return visit to the mental hospital. Anderson states in his extensive commentary that he wanted to homage some what, Nic Roeg’s DONT LOOK NOW. I did not see that here in honesty. I did however see what Mike White and Jed Ayres talk of in their commentary, that of sleeping beasts and nightmare stories. Legends to the more simple natured among us. However it is just translated in such a deeply irritating way, that I cant identify with it. Some people have this with film. Especially older or less familiar films that have been lost to time or the back catalogue of named film makers. Though I would say, watch the extras The Haunted Palace and Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: Session 9, to see how the place has not been forgotten by the film makers.

Now the transfer of the film is something I can identify with. Maybe some issues with colour and frame secretion but overall it is top rate. Hard for the way the film was shot on a DV 24FPS that mirrored celluloid but did have its ups and downs. This I can say with a little authority. I can however say with a level of authority that Second sight 2 disc blu ray release (that has the film and some extras on one and the better extras on the second disc). This makes the set not only more valuable but also allows for multiple interpretations (there are many out in the world). The best extra on disc 2 is A Twisted Collage: Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on Session 9.

Special Features

Audio commentary by Director and Writer Brad Anderson and Writer Stephen Gevedon
New audio commentary by Mike White and Jed Ayres
The Darkside: a new interview with Brad Anderson
Mike’s Session: a new interview with Stephen Gevedon
Back to the Bat: a new interview with Producer David Collins and Director of Photography Uta Briesewitz
Invisible Design: a new interview with Production Designer Sophie Carlhian
The Sound of Dread: a new interview with Composers Robert Millis and Jeffery Taylor
A Twisted Collage: Alexandra Heller-Nicholas on Session 9
Return to Danvers
The Haunted Palace
Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: Session 9
Story to Screen with optional Director commentary
Deleted scenes and alternate ending with optional Director commentary
English subtitles for the hearing impaired
Limited Edition Contents

Rigid slipcase with new artwork by Christopher Shy
Soft cover book with new essays by Charles Bramesco, Simon Fitzjohn and Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
6 collectors’ art cards

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