May 7, 2011

Netflix'ns: Pin

Netflix'ns is a series of review shorts of films, new and old, seen on Netflix, be it DVD or streaming. For better or worse, I sat through these films and have lived to tell the tale. These are not so much reviews as just comments on the film watched. Some will be first time views, others will be revisits. This is a work in progress.

Not to long ago I was on a little bit of a killer doll kick and I was writing about the Child's Play series, Dolls, Dolly Dearest, and a few others. During this period it was recommended that I check out Pin. I had never heard of it before, but was certainly curious, especially when I found that David Hewlett (Stargate: Atlantis) and Terry O'Quinn (Lost). I found it was available on Netflix Watch Instant, so I added to my mammoth queue and promptly forgot about it.

Well, Pin came back to my attention when I found it on the "about to expire" list. This quickly jumped it back up the list for me to watch. The sad fact that things expire actually helps me pick what I want to watch. Have you ever looked at your queue and just had no idea what you wanted to watch next? Or didn't have the time to watch the more interesting titles so looked for something smaller to feast upon? Happens to me all the time.

Pin was originally released in 1988 and was based on a novel by Andrew Neiderman. This was the one theatrically released film by writer/director Sandor Stern whose career has been almost exclusively in the television world, including Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes. Honestly, I am not sure I have seen any of his other work, but based on Pin it may be worth investigating.

This is a bizarre little movie that is, well, really quite weird. As it starts we are introduced to brother and sister Leon and Ursula. Their father is a doctor and the manner in which he teaches them is through  life size medical dummy named Pin (short for Pinocchio). You see, daddy (O'Quinn) is also something of a ventriloquist, thus giving life to the dummy.

The problem that happens is that Leon develops a real attachment to the doll, believing it to be real. Years later when their parents tragically die, Leon's connection to the dummy continues. He takes over the voice of Pin as his apparent schizophrenia (or some other mental disorder) becomes manifest. This is compounded by his irrational attachment to his sister and desire to protect her from anyone and everyone, violently if necessary.

Pin is a slow burn with fits of craziness and with an all encompassing dose of crazy. It is one of those movies that you really need to see to believe. David Hewlett does a great job of playing this dweeby, mentally damaged character. His Leon is somebody who is scary, yet seems so harmless. Leon is an intriguing character whose emotional state could use some serious help. Beyond that, and more importantly, Pin is a seriously creepy doll. The voice, the stare, the guise it is put in later on, wow. The thing gives me the willies.

This is certainly a movie to check out, especially for those who like weird movies.

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