“Fear is a place.”
Director/Writer: Brad Anderson / Writer: Stephen Gevedon / Cast: Peter Mullan, David Caruso, Stephen Gevedon, Josh Lucas, Brendan Sexton III.
Body Count: 5
An asbestos removal crew takes a job at the abandoned Danver Memorial Hospital, hoping to clear the place in a week, prior to his renovation, in the hope of obtaining a generous bonus.
Spending a lot of time alone in the oppressive atmosphere of the former mental institution begins taking its toll on the men: Company owner Gordon is having difficulty adjusting to life as a new father; while Hank and Phil are still at loggerheads over the woman they both left; academic Mike is reconsidering law exams; and Gordon’s be-mulleted nephew provides the team with their inexperienced scapegoat. As work continues for long hours and tension mounts, one of them becomes obsessed with the archived interviews of a schizophrenic former patient and eventually cracks himself.
Session 9 isn’t your average stalk n’ slasher flick by any metric, and it’s only the tail end of things that it shows its hand as influenced the sub-genre. Director Anderson firmly places the accent of terror on the environment itself, rather than ejector-seat scares – some images really send a shudder up the spine in a not-dissimilar way to the more effective found footage horrors. Long, torch-lit corridors and flickering overhead lamps, creaks in the dark, and the dirty walls of the asylum’s interior all contribute to a feeling of desolation that would turn anyone insane.
It’s one of those watch-it-back-for-the-hints films, with subtle drops as to whom the killer is left all over. The material on the archived tapes is also positively compelling on its own. Even as the end credits begin, there’s certainly no clarification of the previous events, a strategy repeated later in the similarly-constructed but inferior Identity.
Not for all tastes, but fans of slow-burn horror should take a walk down these creepy hallways.
We had the 1989 version of The Woman in Black a few PSS’s ago, but I re-spun the 2012 remake last week and was far more into it than when I saw it (twice) at the movies. It’s still about as subtle as a bazooka to the balls, but some of it is legitimately creeeepy, such as this moment, where the imposing dark passage at the end of the corridor is finally filled with the outline of THE WOMAN!!!
Keeping her in the distance adds to the fear factor here. While part of me is like “just stride towards her and punch her in the gob” by this point it’s clear she’s otherworldly and probably shouldn’t be fucked with.
The surprisingly creepy 1991 made-for-TV chiller The Haunted would make a good subject for a future Conjuring sequel.
So the FX are cheap as Microsoft Paint doodle quality, but the faceless blob that appears a few times tormenting the family is genuinely unsettling, such as here, where the Smurl clan escape their haunted abode for a weekend camping, only to find the blob has followed them!
While a maniac with a blade scares me not, I’m still – in my late 30s – easily creeped out by the supernatural. A creaky floorboard here, a door that opens itself there… Goosebump central.
So when I went to see The Conjuring 2 last night with my buddy Kevin, my expectations of a watered-down sequel were kicked in the balls by some really quite frightening scenes.
The 70s London setting was relative, a memory of childhood growing up around similar patterns, colours, attitudes, dreary weather, school uniforms, crap appliances, and everybody in the country with the slightest interest in the spooky knows the Enfield Poltergeist story (see also Ghostwatch).
The nun was horrible, but the old man spectre was far eerier, as he purred “this is my house,” or appeared in TV set reflections in the middle of the day.
Why though, didn’t they just burn that skanky ass chair? The freakin’ bloke died in it!!!
The 1989 one, not the ten-jump-scares-a-minute Daniel Radcliffe-is-a-father!? remake.
Anyway, back in ’89, The Woman only appeared maybe three or four times throughout the whole film, just for a few seconds each.
This is the eeriest of her appearances, when our hero feels a pain in his shoulder and makes an about turn and sees…
The simplicity of it out-creeps both the 2012 film and its sequel combined. But still can’t touch the stage play, which I can’t recommend enough, even if you, like me, ‘don’t do theater’.