the forgotten anti-Blair Witch that inspired Silent Hill

As found footage rose from its ashes thanks to Blair Witch, Session 9 offered a nightmare that unfortunately went unnoticed. An intimate and cruel immersion in a labyrinth of intimate terrors, which was to inspire the third chapter of the video game saga silent Hill and that it is urgent to rediscover.

It took almost twenty years for Brad Anderson’s film to achieve (in the United States) a small cult status, its circle of spectators widening a little more from year to year, according to the thrills experienced by the lucky ones who posed eyes on a feature film that passed under the radar when it was released, and – not yet – rehabilitated by video or the diligence of SVOD platforms.

However, the worshipers who dedicate him a cult in homage to his holy terror are still too few. It must be said that in addition to being completely absent from the collective memory, and therefore from the recommendations of your relatives, friends, companions, companions, descendants or sworn enemies, the footage is apparently of a confusing banality. Because its title, Session 9, will mention absolutely nothing before watching the film. Because its synopsis refers to kilotons of tagged stories, not to say hackneyed.

We will follow a group of workers responsible for removing asbestos from a former asylum with a troubled past. As if by chance, strange situations, threatening demonstrations then annoying tendency of our protagonists to see their existences interrupted multiply, while everyone wonders about the evil nature of this place forgotten by all. You will have understood it, we have here the recipe for the typical horrific B series of the 80s/90s, produced in the wake of shining, Amityville or Poltergeist. And if the result is much higher than this tired note of intent, to understand how and why everyone missed it, we must first go back to the time of its release.

The depressive and murderous version of The Full Monty


It was in August 2001 that Session 9 on the land of Uncle Sam. On paper and whatever the success of the company, the project has everything to make the fortune of its creators. A basic pitch, but promising a recipe appreciated and mastered. A solid cast of actors. A kept budget. A promising young director. Everything, but not punctuality, which will become the double curse of the company. First of all, if the 2000s are not at first glance an ideal breeding ground for genre cinema, it must be clearly understood that all the classic equations have just been scattered like a puzzle by a microscopic production that arrived in the space of a few months to reshuffle all the cards in the sector.

The Blair Witch Project, a phenomenon at the Sundance festival, quickly became the independent film purchased at the highest price of its time, then the most profitable film in the history of cinema. Hollywood watched with wide-eyed eyes as Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez’s tour de force electrified crowds, garnered hordes of fans, through the final weeks of 1999 and throughout 2000. become an authentic cultural phenomenon.

All this, not to mention that Blair’s witch has just made the general public (re)discover the found footage, to which it had not been exposed since Cannibal Holocaust and its gorissimes massacres captured on the sly. A stylistic revolution coupled with a powerful fashion effect is underway.

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