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Session 9 is a 2001 psychological horror film directed by Brad Anderson. The film takes place in and around the Danvers Statemarker Mental Hospital in Danvers, Massachusettsmarker.


Danvers State Hospital has been closed since 1985. Gordon Fleming (Peter Mullan), the owner of a small asbestos removal company, makes a bid to remove the asbestos, ambitiously claiming he can finish the job in just one week in order to get the contract; Gordon is desperately in need of money. He is also a new father, and the stress of work and parenthood have been causing problems between Gordon and his wife, Wendy. As Gordon initially tours the hospital, he comes across a dark hallway with a wheelchair in the middle. He hears a ghostly voice say, "Hello... Gordon."

Gordon's team is small, but eclectic. Mike (Stephen Gevedon, also the film's screenwriter) is an angry, acerbic law school drop-out. Phil (David Caruso), Gordon's second in command, is filled with bitterness after losing his long-time girlfriend to Hank (Josh Lucas), another team member who likes to rub that fact in Phil's face. Hank dreams of hitting the big time, and wants to leave his job to run a casino. Jeff, Gordon's nephew (Brendan Sexton III), is the youngest member of the crew, and suffers from severe nyctophobia.

The job affects each of the men in different ways. While checking on an electrical problem, Mike discovers a box marked "evidence." At the same time, Hank and Gordon are wounded, creating a foreboding atmosphere. Inside, Mike finds a collection of taped interviews with a former patient, Mary, labeled Session 1 through 9. In between working, he listens and becomes increasingly engrossed in the interviews, which detail the patient's multiple personality disorder. Most of the subject's personalities are harmless and child-like. Princess is completely innocent and talks nonstop. Billy sees everything. They all refer to another personality named Simon, someone they don't want to talk about. Throughout the sessions, it is revealed that something terrible happened involving a knife and a China doll one Christmas in Lowell, Massachusettsmarker.

Meanwhile, Hank finds a stash of coins and personal items that have been hidden away since the asylum closed. Unaware that the items came from the furnace in the morgue, Hank returns late one night to steal the artifacts. Upon leaving he follows sounds and finds an empty peanut butter jar, the same as the kind Gordon brought home the first night. However upon investigating he is attacked by an unseen assailant and disappears.

When Hank disappears, Gordon begins to suspect that Phil may have murdered him for stealing his girlfriend. Others postulate that he ran away to find his fortune in Miami. Hank, however, is soon found, wounded and only able to mutter, "What are you doing here?". Jeff runs to tell the others of his discovery and they go to investigate. However, Hank is gone when they all go to look. Gordon believes Jeff when he sees a coin dropped upon the ground, which have been appearing mysteriously all over the place. The co-workers split up in order to find him. One by one, the team members are ambushed by an unseen attacker.

Alone, Gordon finds a room in the asylum with pictures of his wife and child affixed to the wall with the red substance used earlier in the film to mark asbestos, some possibly covered with blood. A short flashback sequence reveals that, after his initial inspection of the hospital, Gordon went home and murdered his wife and daughter after being accidentally splashed with boiling water. He then proceeded to murder all of his colleagues in succession (committing the murders in a dissociative state and later becoming convinced that Phil was responsible). As the film ends, the recording of Session 9 is heard. Simon, the evil personality, finally speaks. He reveals that Mary murdered her brother after he scared her, which caused her to severely injure herself by falling over onto her china doll, then proceeded to kill the rest of her family. The doctor asks: "And where do you live, Simon?" In the same voice that Gordon heard in the hospital at the beginning of the film, we hear Simon say, "I live in the weak and the wounded, Doc."


In reviewing the film for the 2003 edition of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, Ellen Datlow takes the view that Simon is not necessarily an alternate personality of the former patient Mary, but a malignant genius loci. Her review also points out that the deleted scenes included on the DVD help bring out an added understanding of the narrative.

The deleted scenes display a demon hidden within the walls of the asylum, clearly reinforcing the "demonic" spirit interpreted by Ellen Datlow. There is also a homeless woman who witnesses all the murders and finally takes justice out upon Gordon in an alternate ending.


  1. Fall Frights: SESSION 9 (Film Review)
  2. Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling - The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Sixteenth Annual Collection Page lxxxviii Macmillan, 2003 ISBN 0312314256 Accessed via Google Books August 27, 2008

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