A HORROR MOVIE IN AN ABANDONED HOSPITAL - HOW ORIGINAL!
Session 9 (2001)
Maybe back in 2001 there were a few hundred less spooky movies set in abandoned psychiatric hospitals but I'm sure there were already tons of 'em. But guess what? Despite the geez-not-again setting, the presence of David Caruso (when he was almost relevant) this actually was one of the better ones. There were no special effects, no ghosts with distorted faces popping out of darkness, no doors slamming or windows opening, etc. This movie was spooky just from the characters portrayed in it.
Gordon is the owner of an asbestos removal company. That's all he's done and all he knows. Despite the dangers, the fact that he and his wife have just had a baby means he still needs work and he needs as much as possible. When he bids on the contract for cleaning the Danvers State Hospital so they can turn it into a City Hall, he purposely underbids and shortens the cleaning time to an almost impossible length. He then begins with his crew. We have a smart man (there's always one... wait, no there isn't) Mike who really wants to go back to law school, Phil who also has done this job for a long time (David Caruso), Hank, a real jackass and Jeff, who is Gordon's nephew and is learning the business.
The place is huge as these things are and Phil argues with Gordon constantly that they're not going to be able to finish, adding to his stress. He hasn't been sleeping because of the new baby. When he gets home from work, he can only look at his new family from his truck without going in. Finally he grabs the flowers he bought for her and goes in. We hear dialogue and then a scream.
The work goes on. The nephew screws up a lot but he's trying. Phil and Hank are at each other's throats because Hank stole Phil's girlfriend. And Gordon, who's working with a limp, seems to be getting more and more distant. Mark discovers abandoned files and being the brain he can't help but look through them and finds one about a deceased patient numbered 444 (they're all buried under numbers, not names) who was a woman named Mary who had multiple personalities.
Despite the popularity of having multiple personality people in movies the actual illness is extremely rare. It is also now mostly called dissociative identity disorder. Because it is so difficult to diagnose, there may be anywhere from 25,000 to 250,000 people in the US that suffer from it. Since the population is currently around 313 million that's really pretty rare. Mary has three distinct other 'persons' inside her, two are children, one is a sinister personality names Simon that all are afraid of.
Meanwhile Gordon is now living in his truck. He tells Phil that he and his wife had a fight and things aren't good. He constantly calls home to talk to her but she seems to always hang up on him. He tells Phil he just wants to go home.
All hell breaks loose. First Hank finds a cache of old coins and figures he can sell them and run off to get a better job. Everyone thinks he has quit. But the next day Jeff finds him, wearing dark glasses and standing and rocking, repeating the same phrase over and over. When Jeff tells the others something seems to happen to Gordon. He calls home once again and again and he's starting to really lose it. Everyone splits up to find Hank as he's disappeared again and everyone gets lost. One by one they're attacked by an unseen assailant - except for Mike, who's sneaked off to learn more about Mary. He seems to have become obsessed with her ailment and supposed treatment (since she's dead it obviously didn't work). He finally hears from 'Simon' and finds out that Mary had murdered her brother because Simon made her do it. He leaves to find the others.
A new man, Craig, comes in to help the team and is instantly killed. Finally we see what has been happening. Phil tells Gordon he needs to 'wake up and take a really good look' at everything. Gordon is totally confused so Phil repeats himself. Now Gordon sees. Apparently under Simon's influence (they don't explain how that could happen and why) Gordon, when he went home the first night, killed his wife and baby when she accidentally poured boiling water on his leg. He has been systematically killing his friends. He now sees their bodies, including Phil's. The last scene is Gordon again trying to talk to his wife on his broken cell phone, saying again he's sorry. We hear that the tape of Mary is still running. The doctor asks 'Simon' where he lives. Simon says (sorry) 'I live in the weak and the wounded'. Like Gordon.
Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.