Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Sin of Sinterklaus: Saint (2010)

Saint ("Sint") (Netherlands, 2010)
rating: ***1/2
starring: Egbert Jan Weeber, Bert Luppes and Caro Lenssen

Just when you thought Santa couldn't get any meaner or crazier, we suddenly have this foreign variation to the popular trope where it is said that whenever the moon is full before Sinterklaas Day (a Netherlands variation for Christmas), the titular Bishop and his cronies, which revealed to be the opposite of their currently benevolent visage, would return to steal and murder every child in Amsterdam and slaughter anybody that will get in the way.

Opening in the early 1400s, we watch Saint Niklas and his troops of raiding hoodlums pillage a town of their food, drink and clothing before retreating to their aging ship. The villagers, who have been putting up with the Bishop's constant raids, decided enough was enough and fought back by setting his boat ablaze, killing him and his troops. Or so they thought.

Returning as vengeful revenants, Sinterklaas and his army of "Black Pietz" continues their evil deed whenever a full moon coincides with the night before Sinterklaas day, one being on 1968 when a young boy named Goertz saw his whole family murdered by the bishop and his zombie army, traumatizing him into a paranoid, Sinterklaas-hating police officer of the present who believes that the killer bishop will return soon.

True enough, the Sinterklaas shows up that night with his army of burnt ghouls, slaughtering hundreds and kidnapping children; somehow surviving an encounter is one Frank, a high school student who is falsely accused as the culprit after finding him in one of the crime scenes. But when the death tolls continue to climb and more children goes missing, it soon became clear to them that there's more to it than a mere single killer, and Frank have no choice but to survive the night and aid one man who knows what's really going on: Goertz.

What it lacks in a strong story and character development, Sint is more of a movie made for gory kicks and high speed action. The fast pace had us moving from one scene to another, mostly involving the killer Saint and his zombie cohorts murdering random characters with barely enough screentime and kidnapping children. This direction killed off some potentially intense scenes but my guesses where he director, Dick Maas, wasn't aiming for a slow scare-fest but rather a fun thrill ride with as much gore as possible.

Ironically, I failed to see enough of the red stuff here; yes we do have some pretty cool kills but most of them are either CG enhanced or standard murders that you'd seen in almost every other slasher flicks made before. This might be because despite being labeled as a "Santa Claus Slasher" movie, the tyrannous Bishop, who sports the coolest looking bladed staff I've seen, never did most of the killings and instead, his army of Black Pietz did and they're armed with some very basic weapons. In fact, the only thing Santa here did is look menacingly cool and killed at least two to three people. Kinda misleading for those hoping to see a killer Santa but let's look at the positives.

On a note, I dig a lot of scenes here; one involving a high-speed chase where a police cruiser escorting the wrongfully accused boy to jail spots Saint Niklas horse riding from roof to roof and proceeds to apprehend him through a shoot-out. Of course, it didn't end well for the cops, but at least we got a scene that perfectly mends high-concept action and some level of camp, making it one of the coolest moment of the film. Put in a really epic score, and you got yourself one hell of a Christmas movie!

The film's also camp in tone, despite some really touchy subject matters such as child murder, with the church and government covering the Sinterklaas abductions for some fully unexplained reasons. The comedic tone is hinted on some very silly mess-ups from our heroes and some dead pan reaction of some people. I'm pretty sure if you get a falling house break into your apartment, you don't stand there with your lover, drinking wine without screaming at least once.

The make-up effects of the movie are also on a decent run; the villains' prosthetic make-up calls for some cool looking zombies, something I really wish we have nowadays in our zombie flicks. Our killer Santa, however, spent more time in the shadows so the only time we get to see his full burnt look was somewhere around the end, which hinted an opening for a possible sequel. Not really a good thing for me but seeing how fast everything happened, I could really use a second round of this villain and his exploits to fully grasp how great this movie is, or if it can do better.

The overall result is a horror movie made for pure popcorn delights; Sint's cheesy fun in every exploits, though lacking strength on some of its own department. (et al, a stronger plot for a high concept) Anybody reaching for a different take on their Killer Santas would find a good time with this title! Just sit back next to a cozy chimney, watch out for burnt zombies with hatchets, and enjoy this movie!
He comes for your children...
1 female hacked on the back with axe
1 male pitchforked through the chest
1 male had an axe thrown to his head
1 male had his face split with shovel
1 male burned to death
A number of males burned to death
1 boy and 1 girl pulled up into the chimney, killed
1 girl killed, blood splash seen
1 male killed, blood splash seen
1 female found with missing eyes
2 males ran over by a ship
1 female found with throat cut
1 male beheaded
1 male gets a saw-toothed sickle end of a staff through the head, exits to mouth
1 male killed
1 female ripped in half
2 males crushed by a falling horse
1 male impaled on spear
1 male had an arm lopped off with hatchet, thrown through window
1 male gets a machete through the neck
1 male ran through with sword
1 male accidentally shot
1 male had his head sliced off with the saw-toothed sickle end of a staff
1 male bled to death from stab wound
300+ children decimated in explosion
total: 326+


  1. I saw this one exactly an year ago, and I loved it! It was great campy fun, and thoroughly refreshing! Great review.

    1. thanks, mate! Though I really wished there's more to mt killer Claus here...

  2. I also saw it last year and highly enjoyed it. Gory and super-entertaining fun :)