Monday, August 10, 2009

Late night double feature: Session 9 and The Grudge

Recently I was retrenched from my job of almost 3 years, and it really sucks. Blah blah blah etc etc. The crux of it is that I've lost a bit of motivation lately so I find myself sitting up drinking beer and watching movies/reading books long after I should have gone to bed. Bad for my youthful looks, good for this review site. Last night I had a late one which included watching football then going on to view a couple of movies I'd read were unsung horror classics of the 2000s.

Note: If you're about to scroll down looking for breasty pictures, please be aware in that neither of these movies included nudity or sex. They've been marked down accordingly.

 Session 9

Imagine a world where all horror movies included David Caruso as a lead actor. A lot of intensity, looking out of windows at nothing in particular and wearing sunglasses even after sunset. He'd have to be the softly spoken character with a nerve of steel and murky past. Why does he sleep in that van? Did kids at his school call him Bluey? What's with the implied but overlooked drug use plot line?

But I digress right from the start. Session 9 is actually a thriller set in an abandoned insane asylum and so named for a series of tapes found by one of the characters. Each of these tapes contains the recording of a doctor and former patient as they discuss her irrelevant mental condition and past crimes. The tapes are labelled sessions 1 to 9, with 9 being the ultimate reveal of her naughtiness. Session 9.  She's kind of crazy on the tapes with 3 seperate personalities that each take turns talking to the doctor. The princess represents innnocence, Billy is her protector and there's a third personality that embodies murderous rage. He only pops up on tape 9, surprise!  This whole plot line, beside giving the movie it's name, felt detached from the rest of the movie. It also failed to be creepy. In hindsight I'd have cut the whole she-bang and renamed this flick 'No-boob Asylum Movie'.

The other portion of the movie follows an asbestos cleanup crew as they push to get the asylum tidied up and ready for redevelopment. The crew is made up of David Caruso, a tired looking irish guy who doesn't drink or hit anyone randomly(initially), a young kid with a mullet, some hick character who stole Caruso's girlfriend and a smart guy who should be a lawyer but instead opted to clean up asbestos. Er, sure. I have a computer science degree but I'd rather clean sewers. If you can swallow that bullshit you're sure to love this movie.

In a nutshell, these characters are all shit. They have vague motivations, weak emotional responses and wander around doing random shit throughout the movie. The irish guy hit his wife when she spilled water on him, the hick finds treasure in the incinerator, the smart guy discovers those tapes, the kid likes loud music but is afraid of the dark and so on. As the movie slowly bores you to death it's portrayed as a supernatural flick - in that weird stuff happens, lights go off, sounds are heard and theres a scary chair upstairs.

Make it stop!
Sweet baby Jesus! Make it stop!
The hick dude eventually goes to the asylum at night to collect his treasure and while there runs afoul of some one or some thing. Later in the movie he reappears but has lost the ability to form coherant sentences. He dissapears again and only the kid has seen him. Is he a ghost? I really didn't care. This sort of thing goes on for another half hour. Scary bits, people looking out windows, the irish guy gets angry. There's a brief moment where we suspect Caruso of being the bad guy but right at the end it turns out the irish guy actually killed his wife and baby when she spilled that hot water on him. This scene is showed over and over again in the course of the movie, each time slightly different to the last with the ultimate scene being him stabbing her and the kid to death. Nice guy. He then goes on to kill everyone else and the movie ends.

While not really a horror movie, Session 9 tries to present itself as one by having an asylum, scary (or not) tape recordings of a crazy person, people acting strangely and characters that might or might not be ghosts. In the end the tapes mean nothing, the ghost guy has just been lobotimised with an ice pick (for some reason) by Mr Irish, and all the weird behaviour can be attributed to the fuckwittedness of the characters. This movie was vapid and un-entertaining. The plot was fatuous. The dialogue didn't use as many important sounding words as I just did. In short, Session 9 will scare you right to sleep.


The Grudge

The Grudge is a remake of the well regarded Japanese horror movie, The Grudge. This movie is told piecemeal from the viewpoint of several characters, starting from pretty much the present day and going back into the past to show other characters.

In the beginning a young girl cares for an invalid woman until something in the attic kills her. This something is basically a pale woman with dark hair that covers most of her face, the emo ghost as I called it. The only thing I found scary was the prospect of her music and clothes taking the world by storm and making us all look like total wankers. The story rolls on. Some young thing, played by Buffy the vampire slayer, takes over the case of  the old lady and quickly experiences the naughty old emo ghost - and her son whom I'll only mention one more time in passing due to his complete irrelevance.

Just as a brief aside, I never understood what the attraction of Buffy was until I saw this movie. Sarah Michelle Gellar is pretty hot in a way I'm unable to describe; in the first scene my initial thought was 'look at her nose!', but that quickly devolved into an appreciation of other things. Is it the body, the emotive acting, nose envy? I don't know.

What follows is a showing of some past events. Another couple, business type man and his horse-faced wife, move into the house with his mother, the demented old lady. They're both killed in short order, leaving the old crone alone and in need of someone to help her. Business guy's sister is then killed off in her apartment after escaping from emo ghost in an office building. I'd like to say this was relevant or creepy but it was more like something a 6 year old is scared of and had no bearing on the story whatsoever.

Finally we come to the reason for the hauntings and murder (do ghosts commit murder?). Turns out emo ghost was once a flesh and blood woman married to some guy. Emo woman had an obsession with her old university professor and wrote him letter after letter outlining the depths of her stalker-ness. Jelly and rubber rockets were involved I believe. So anyway, the husband guy finds her obsession diary and goes crazy; killing emo lady, their son and even the cat. I'd like to mention the cat is killed in their bathroom, please insert wet pussy joke here. Husband hangs himself and this whole story is kicked off. Unfortunately. As an aside, professor guy comes by and sees the bodies then throws himself off a building. Professor guy was Bill Pullman so this can be viewed as a 'good thing'.

Back in the present, Buffy rushes to the house to save her doe eyed boyfriend - only to fail horribly and start a fire that burns his body along with the ghost. Oh wait, no she doesn't. The firemen come along and put the fire out, so emo ghost is free to kill and kill again. Movie ends with the ghost standing behind Buffy, probably on the cusp of making a cutting remark. Cut to credits. Get it - cutting, emo? No? Ok, roll score.

4/10 - The Grudge is not a frightening film, nor is it an interesting film. It falls onto the heap that includes overrated crap like The Ring and Session 9, medicore movies that do nothing new and throw up 'scares' not fit for anyone over the age of 6. I've seen scarier episodes of Land Before Time. Littlefoot, watch out for the sharptooth! SNAP! Er, TV off now kids.

I'm really sad because the music told me to be!
I'm really sad because the music told me to be!
These guys are happy because they haven't wasted their night watching two shitty movies. Lucky bastards.
These guys are happy because they haven't wasted their night watching two shitty movies. Lucky bastards.

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