Monday, November 12, 2007

And David Caruso as the Tough Guy Electrician

There's video store a couple miles from here called Mammoth Video. It's been there for years but it now going out of business. It's tragic, in a way. For one thing, it was a Mammoth Video that hired me ten years ago (and closed it's own doors 8 years ago now). Not to mention that it's yet another video store shutting down. It seems to be the end of an era. Video stores just aren't what they used to be.

In the glory days of VHS, most movies cost $100 per tape when they were first released. It wasn't cost effective for a consumer to purchase the tapes. Video stores thrived. Then came DVD. DVDs were designed as a consumer product. They're affordable. The average guy can go to the store and buy whatever DVD he wants as a somewhat reasonable price. And, thus, the end of the video store era. They just aren't necessary anymore.

The upside to this is that as the stores close, they liquidate their inventory, allowing the likes of me to purchase movies like Session 9 at discounted rates.

I knew very little about the movie going into it. I'd heard that people liked it, but knew nothing about the plot or the setting. I wasn't sure if I was going to be watching a movie about a demon from hell or a movie about a guy going nuts and killing everyone. In fact, a case could actually be made that it was both of those things.

The problem with a movie like Session 9 is that it's very difficult to talk about without giving most of the movie away. So, to hell with it. Gorgon killed everyone. There you go. That's the movie. It's a six year old movie and if I've effectively ruined it for you, well, you had plenty of time to see it. Shame on you for not doing so sooner.

The question that the movie raises but opts out of answering is...well, the obvious one, "Why?" Why does Gordon descend into a mental state that allows him to kill, not only his coworkers, but also his wife and baby? Well, the movie DOES answer this, actually. Simon convinces him to. So, I suppose the real question is "Who is Simon?"

It all started with Mary Hobbes. Mary was a patient at Danvers State Hospital who suffered from a multiple personality disorder. Simon was the personality that killed Mary's brother and family. When asked why he did it, he explains it was because she let him. He tells the doctor interviewing Mary that "I live in the weak and the wounded."

"I live in the weak and the wounded." This can be taken to mean at least one of three things. 1) Simon is the personification of evil that lives in all of us, able to manifest himself in those not strong enough to suppress him. B) Simon is a demon, able to possess those who are not strong enough to fight him off. 3) Simon is a ghost. A remnant of the patient Mary Hobbes that was left behind when she died in the facility.

I have a hard time believing that it may be a demon, despite the Satanic Cult angle presented early in the film (Satanic Cults were a big fear in the Eighties for some reason. I remember it being all over shows like 20/20. No one is worried about them anymore though). There is a supernatural element presented in the movie, but it's never overtly shown. It's just sort of hinted at. So, let's assume that Simon is not a demon.

So, could it be that Simon is just a part of all of us, lurking in the darkness of our psyches waiting for the opportune moment? Let's assume not. If only because I don't like what that implies. It would mean that anyone is capable of these acts. And it raises too many other questions like "Why is Gordon the one who listens? Why not the other guys?"

That leaves us with the possibility that Simon is a ghost. That, I think, might be the most plausible explanation. Gordon is under so much stress from his failing business and new child that the ghost of Simon is able to whisper into his ear and convince him to do these evil things. Gordon is weak, the stress has made him so. As such, he is susceptible to the influence the the ethereal Simon is able to exert.

Obviously, the ghost theory is very similar to the demon theory. The difference is the way they go about their business. Demonic possession implies that Gordon had no control. He couldn't have stopped himself no matter how hard he tried. If Simon we a spirit, whispering ideas into Gordon's ear, however, it implies that to some extent that he could have said no. He was too weak though. He committed the crime and then hid it from himself. He couldn't have been capable of such an atrocity, no way! Nu uh! Not him!

See, I love movies like this. It's not just that I love a good, creepy ghost story. It's the kind of movie that you have to think about afterwards. Everything isn't laid out in front of you like a buffet. You have to really look and consider it and decide for yourself what was really happening. There is no right or wrong answer, there's only the answer you take from it. I just wish David Caruso would make eye contact with people like a normal human being.

8 lights turning off as you run down the hall trying desperately to outrun the darkness out of 10.


Anonymous said...

fun reading your take on session 9 but what did david caruso ever do to you that would owuld bag on him? he was good in the movie and as believable as phil. angry, pissed off phil. i liked his character better than gordon's or the others. sometimes i find myself saying, though, "what are you doing here?"

Unknown said...

Why bag on Caruso? Um...well...Eric Stoltz hasn't done anything lately. I don't know. I'm just not a fan. He was fine in the movie. The lack of eye contact bugged me though. It bothered me to the point that it bore mentioning. It makes him seem shifty. And, while that may have been a character trait for Phil, he does it in every role and it bothers me. It bothers me the same way Val Kilmer's lack of eyelashes bothers me.

Unknown said...

Great review. I enjoyed it.