Psychological horror movies hit you on another level. The threat in these films feels real and far more perilous than those that stick to the paranormal end of the spectrum. Brad Anderson’s ‘Session 9’ presents a unique blend of both psychological and supernatural horror to its viewers with its simple but twisted plot. The movie revolves around a group of asbestos cleaners who are hired to disinfect an abandoned mental hospital. Impervious to the facility’s dark history, the men start doing their job and try their best to reach their stringent deadlines. But as days go by, the dark manifestations of the hospital’s past slowly start reflecting on them.
With its mind-fuck ending, ‘Session 9’ leaves you both baffled and impressed. Once you’re done watching it, you can’t help but look for other similar well-thought-out psychological horror films. So we’ve created a list of all the movies that are similar to ‘Session 9.’ Most of the movies mentioned below can be streamed on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
7. A Cure for Wellness (2016)
Directed by Gore Verbinski, who is well-known for his work in ‘The Ring’, ‘A Cure for Wellness’ is a gripping psychological thriller. The film centers around a young executive who is asked to retrieve his company’s CEO from a “wellness center” located in the Swiss Alps. Knowing about the facility’s impressive treatments, at first, he simply feels obliged for getting the opportunity to go there. But only when he actually gets there, the dark secrets of the remote location start testing his sanity.
6. Unsane (2018)
Almost like all the other movies on this list, ‘Unsane’ unfolds its storyline in a mental health facility. Its main character, a woman named Sawyer Valentini, unknowingly enrolls herself in an asylum. Soon, she learns that a dangerous stalker lurks amongst the hospital’s staff and she must now find a way to prove her sanity before it’s too late. Just like ‘Session 9’, ‘Unsane’ is a timeless psychological horror film that has no jumping-out-of-cupboards scares but still stays with you long after its credits start rolling.
5. Grave Encounters (2011)
Although heavily-inclined towards the supernatural, ‘Grave Encounters’ has a lot in common with ‘Session 9.’ The main characters of ‘Grave Encounters’ are a group of ghost hunters who visit haunted locations and then fake supernatural sightings just to get better ratings on their reality TV show. But all of this completely changes when they decide to visit an old, abandoned asylum that was known for practicing some of the most disturbing methods of treating its patients. As the film progresses, the ghost hunters realize that the facility still echoes of all the horrid experiences that the patients there had gone through. What further heightens its paranormal drama is its handheld direction style and appreciable performances of its cast.
4. The Endless (2017)
Like ‘Session 9’, ‘The Endless’ is a lo-fi horror film that blurs the lines between the supernatural and human psychology. The film’s premise unfolds itself from the perspective of two men, who had once survived a death cult. But when one of them feels convinced that what they escaped was not a death cult but only a camp, they find themselves returning back to the endless horrors of their past.
3. Shutter Island (2010)
With Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo as its lead and Martin Scorsese at its helm, ‘Shutter Island’ is often labeled as one of the best psychological thrillers of the decade and rightfully so. With some of the most marvelous set pieces in its backdrop, the film walks you through the psychological turmoil of a US Marshal, Teddy Daniels, who investigates the terrifying mysteries of a remote island asylum. A sustained sense of suspense and horror sticks with you throughout the runtime of ‘Shutter Island’ and it’s highly recommended if you enjoyed watching ‘Session 9.’
2. Fractured (2019)
Hollywood’s old school auteur Brad Anderson was very well appreciated for the psychological depth that he achieved through his characters in ‘The Machinist’ and ‘Session 9.’ Although ‘Fractured’ fails to live up to the high standards set by the two aforementioned films, it still makes up for a captivating thriller. Themes of guilt and grief are two common themes that serve as a connective thread between almost all of Anderson’s films. And just like ‘Session 9’, ‘Fractured’ also deals with the emotional turbulence a man goes through because of his overwhelming sense of guilt.
1. The Machinist (2004)
Although both ‘The Machinist’ and ‘Fractured’ don’t have elements of supernatural, several parallels can be drawn between them and ‘Session 9.’ All three films revolve around the mental breakdowns of men who struggle with their underlying, unaccepted, and unacknowledged sense of guilt. All three films walk you through the dark psychological manifestation of a hidden desire that completely devours the mind of a character. Not to mention, Christian Bale’s performance and his surreal transformation for the movie perfectly capture the vulnerability of the human mind.
Read More: Session 9 Ending, Explained