I watched the movie Session 9 the other night. I really wanted to love this movie. The first 40 minutes or so I was totally into it and thought it was totally cool. I’m still glad I saw it, very glad, but I couldn’t rate it very high (my GreenCine rating on it is a 5).
I’m glad I saw it, and I’d recommend it to certain folks, because of the location they used in it. Almost the entire thing is shot at the abandoned Danvers State Mental Institution in Massachusetts. The hospital is sprawlingly huge, and absolutely gorgeous outside in that spooky new-england sort of way (think Lov ecraft only believable). It was built in 1887, was where the pre-frontal lobotomy was “perfected” and ran as an institution until either the 80’s or 90’s (I’ve seen conflicting reports that it was closed in 1982 and 1992) and has been empty ever since.
The interior is truly beautiful in only the way a really well built, handcrafted item can be that’s been left sitting in the rain for decades. Paint peels, broken tiles are everywhere, broken windows both inside and out. Things left by the former residents and staff, and by folks who have come after to hide, hang out, or squat. Spraypainted walls next to walls lovingly painted by inmates. Amazing. Check out the link to see pictures of it for yourself.
Why didn’t I like the movie? Basically I was expecting a really cool ghost story or supernatural thriller where the hospital is an entity of its own (think The Shining), and during the first 40 minutes, it really looks like that is where the movie is heading. However, it quickly devolves into one person’s fight with madness with the hospital as reallly only a backdrop (a la Psycho… not that I think Psycho is bad, but this ain’t Psycho).
I’d love to see the movie I wanted made, but unfortunately the Danvers State Hospital is set for rennovation/demolition soon, and the decrepit beauty inside will be lost to modern sheet-rock and machine made interiors typical of america these days. Weather has been hard on the buildings, and most of the interiors are unsavable and dangerous in any state. The amazing facade will be kept… I have no idea what they’ll turn it all into… It’d break my heart to see it turned into a shopping center….
So, if the links above intrigue you about the building, and you are willing to sit through what I thought was a film of medium interest on it’s own merits, you’ll be blessed with memories of a place that very few will visit and enjoy before it is changed forever.
PS. The movie does have probably the best performance of David Caruso in anything. It redeemed him in my eyes for many past “acting” indescretions… that is until watching his performances in CSI: Miami, which brought him way down again.