A workaholic doctor uses a medical dummy called Pin to communicate with his young children, Leon and Ursula. However, Leon develops a strange relationship with Pin which only worsens after his parents are killed in a bizarre traffic accident. As time passes Leon becomes increasingly unstable and protective of his sister, terrified of losing her to a new boyfriend. Leon consults Pin for advice on what to do…..
“Pin” is a low-key pyschological thriller merging elements of “Psycho” (1960) and “Magic” (1978).
Terry O’Quinn (Lock from TV’s “Lost” and star of the 1989 thriller “The Stepfather” (1987)) plays the good-hearted Doctor and father who educates his children – Leon and Ursula – with the aid of ventriloquism and a full-size medical dummy, Pin. However, the lonely Leon is unable to see past his father’s unique ability to throw his voice and is convinced that Pin is actually alive.
As the film goes on, Pin becomes more and more life-like as Leon dresses him in his (dead) father’s clothes and sits him at the dinner table for communal meals. Leon even puts Pin in a remote-control wheelchair such that he can move around the house. This sets the scene for one of the film’s best moments as a terrified would-be girlfriend is tormented and chased through the house by a mobile Pin on wheels…..
A nod should also be given to Cyndy Preston’s input as the innocent but compromised, Ursula. Without her performance, the film would probably fall over and it’s her tender scenes with Leon which are most dramatic. There is a grubby undercurrent of sexual tension and incestuous intention throughout the movie which gives it a real ‘creep-factor’ & this feel is very much enhanced by the glaring performance of a young David Hewlett as the mild-mannered but sexually-frustrated and wild-eyed Leon. A cringing scene involves Leon reading aloud his most recent poem to his sister and her new boyfriend; a poem about an isolated young man raping his attractive sister…..Nevertheless, the audience is forced to sympathise with this pathetic kid and his bizarre fantasies, which says a lot for Hewlett’s performance in the lead role.
The film’s ending is a little predictable – and if you have seen “Psycho” (1960) you’ll see it coming a mile-off – but on further consideration a little ambiguous, meaning the film isn’t readily forgotten. (Note: Pay attention to the film’s opening and you’ll understand….).
Whilst this is no ground-breaking thriller; it’s still a haunting, under-appreciated and surprisingly disturbing movie.
hotdog rating: 7/10