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Reviewer: Jeremy
Review Date: April 3, 2001

Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: April 24, 2001
MSRP: $29.95
Region 0, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes



The Story

inline Image Leon Linden and his sister Ursula seem like normal kids. However, their family life is far from ideal. Their mother (Bronwen Mantel) is a complete obsessive-compulsive who is constantly cleaning the house and making a fuss over messes. Their father, local physician Dr. Frank Linden (Terry O'Quinn), is a very strict man, but not without a certain sense of humor. In his office, Dr. Linden keeps "Pin", a life-sized dummy with transparent skin that allows the inner organs to be seen. Although the prop is normally used as a teaching aide, the doctor instead uses it to amuse his younger patients, having conversations with it by means of ventriloquism. As the two get older, Ursula eventually figures out that it's her father who is making Pin talk, but Leon is never quite able to make the connection, and grows up thinking of Pin as a person - his friend, in fact.

inline Image As they get to be teenagers, Leon (David Hewlett) become more and more anti-social, while Ursula (Cyndy Preston) garners a reputation as the town slut. One day, soon after Leon kicks the stuffing out of a boy he caught having sex with her, she comes to him with a problem - she is two months late for her period and fears that she's pregnant. The two rack their brains trying to figure out what to do, and Leon comes up with a suggestion - why not go ask Pin for advice? Ursula objects, knowing that Pin is the creation of her father, but goes down to her father's office with Leon anyway. Leon tries talking to Pin, and gets no answer at first. Ursula is about ready to leave when suddenly Pin starts talking! It's actually Leon using ventriloquism, but he doesn't know he's doing it and actually thinks that Pin is talking with him. On Pin/Leon's advice, Ursula goes to her father and he gets her an abortion.

inline Image Knowing that he can now "converse" with Pin on his own, Leon begins secretly spending a lot of time at his father's office talking to him. One night, as his father and mother are getting ready to attend a medical lecture, Dr. Linden realizes that he's left some of his notes at his office, so he goes there to get them and finds Leon and Pin talking. He's extremely shocked and tells his son to get lost, but realizing what he's been doing to his son all these years, he decides to get rid of Pin. He puts him in the backseat of his car to donate to the medical society holding the lecture. Realizing that they are late, he speeds, and becomes so unnerved by the presence of the very life-like Pin that he crashes the car. Both he and his wife are killed, although Pin is undamaged.

inline Image With his parents gone, the now-adult Leon takes over the responsibility of the household, but he also brings Pin into the house to live, even dressing him in his father's clothes and putting a mask on him. Ursula is extremely disturbed, knowing that her brother is a very sick man. Their aunt Dorothy (Patricia Collins) moves into the house briefly, but Leon is so eager to get rid of her that he exploits a heart condition that she has, using Pin to scare her to death. But things get more complicated when Ursula starts dating Stan (John Ferguson), a local college student who Leon sees as a threat. Leon's mental condition begins to deteriorate as the two become closer and closer, and his conversations with Pin become even more warped. Finally, Leon knows that the only choice he has is to kill Stan...

inline Image Pin was an extremely interesting psychological thriller, although it is a little bit drawn put and slow-moving. The movie works best as an extremely macabre character study rather than a typical horror film, the filmmakers having sensibly decided to avoid gore or cheap shocks. Although other men would have probably wasted time trying to trick the audience and make them wonder if Pin might really be alive, director Sandor Stern ignores the issue almost entirely. There are a few half-hearted attempts to raise the question of whether Pin actually has a consciousness of his own, but they are quickly discarded. There is never any doubt that Pin is anything but a product of Leon's psyche, which leaves the audience free to focus on Leon exclusively. The acting, especially by David Hewlett as Leon, is very good for such a low-budget production. Unfortunately, the movie does tend to drag in the middle, and it's rather easy to become disinterested in the story at times. Overall Pin is a fairly above-average thriller, although probably not one for everybody.

If you like cheesy monster movies, give Pin a try. You might just like it! Anchor Bay has released Pin in an extended version that runs nearly 9 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. Something that is sure to please many fans, myself included.

Image Quality

The transfer on this DVD is nothing short fantastic. The image, letterboxed at 1.85:1 and enhanced for 16x9 sets, is absolutely beautiful. Although Pin is nearly 15 years old, it looks like it was made no more than a few years ago. The the image is unbeliavably sharp and detailed, with the film elements showing no damage, virtually no grain, and only a very few specks. The only visual problem even worth mentioning is that the color red seems to be oversaturated, resulting in some color bleed (the opening credits are a good example of this). However, other than that colors are dead-on and fleshtones are natural, so I'm certainly not going to complain too hard.

Sound

The soundtrack is in Dolby 2.0 Surround, and it's an excellent-sounding track. There is absolutely no distortion, and every sound on it is reproduced perfectly. Although I did have to adjust the volume once or twice during the movie, overall there is a very good balance between the dialogue and the music, which also sounds fantastic. No subtitles or alternate languge tracks are included.

Supplemental Material

inline Image Anchor Bay has included a commentary track with director Sandor Stern and journalist Ted Newsom. Unfortunately, it's a fairly weak track. Oftentimes it sounds more like a recording of an interview. Usually Newsom has to prod Stern into talking with questions, and even fills up some of the track by reading user comments from the Internet Movie Database! There are also quite a few quiet spots, especially towards the end. Stern does provide some interesting information here and there, but overall the track is very disappointing.

The only other extra is a theatrical trailer.

Final Thoughts

Another great audio/visual job by Anchor Bay. Pin won't appeal to all tastes, but is at least worth a look, and despite the disappointing audio commentary, this disc will definitely be worth owning for anybody who's a fan of the movie.

Rating

Movie - B
Image Quality - A
Sound - A-
Supplements - C+

Technical Info.
  • Running Time - 1 hour 42 minutes (extended version)
  • Color
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • 27 Chapter Stops
  • Dolby Digital Surround 2.0
Supplements
  • Commentary track with director Sandor Stern and journalist Ted Newsom
  • Theatrical trailer

 

 

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