Reviews | Written by John Townsend 11/01/2022

SESSION 9 (2001)

From its original release back in 2001, Brad Anderson’s Session 9 has developed something of a cult following. Often overlooked, Anderson’s stylish, creeping thriller has garnered a loyal following through word of mouth and now Second Sight has given it a polish, added some new interviews and released this fancy Blu-ray boxset. Perhaps twenty years on Session 9 will finally find the audience it deserves.

With the story kept to a minimum – an asbestos disposal firm striving to complete the contract on a former asylum – Anderson focuses on atmosphere, and it pays off. From the beginning, Session 9 unsettles you, allowing barely a moment of respite as the simple, subtle plot threads emerge and intertwine. Peter Mullan’s Gordon displays the stress and anxiety of a man with social and personal troubles, while his team including David Caruso and co-writer Stephen Gevedon each have their own, often conflicting agendas.

What really sets Session 9 apart is the uneasy tension that pervades throughout. Unspoken, often misinterpreted thoughts and intentions cause both confusion and mistrust. And Anderson directs with almost voyeuristic glee, conveying the bleakly stunning, terrifying location through a bleached palette, with little set dressing required to bring this haunting building to life. The opening rotating shot itself is an indicator of the discomfort to come.

Instead of the often rather dull extras accompanying many re-releases the second disc provides real insight into the genesis and production of Session 9. Interviews with Anderson himself, Gevedon and Production Designer Sophie Carlhian among others are as entertaining as they are informative, with enough to satisfy fans new and old.

In short, this is a fantastic new version of a beautifully crafted and unsettling film and one that rewards repeat viewing.

Session 9 is out now on Blu-ray.