Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In short: Sint (2010)

aka Saint

aka Saint Nick

Turns out the original Saint Nicolas (Huub Stapel) wasn't the cuddly bishop of wherever but a renegade with murdering and pillaging as his main hobbies. That is, until some heroic peasants from Amsterdam made use of pitchforks and fire and sent the murderous bastard and his gang to hell.

Saint Nick is something of a sore loser, though, so every time the night before the 6th of December - the Christmas Eve version of the Dutch - falls on the night of a full moon, Nick and his gang of Zwarte Piets (black being the colour one's skin takes on when one gets burned) visit Amsterdam for a bit of a blood bath.

This being a horror film, the authorities have kept Nick's massacring ways hidden for no discernible reason for centuries and not made any effort to get rid of the supernatural menace, which must make his job quite a bit easier.

Anyhow, it's 2010, and it's time for Nick and the Petes to do their thing again. Because the police is mostly left in the dark about their ways, and those in the know are in the business of hushing things up, it falls to shlubby college boy Frank (Egbert Jan Weeber), freshly suspected of some of Nick's murders, and cop and survivor of another Saint Nick massacre Goert (Bert Luppes) to get rid of the red-coated menace. Most probably, there will be blood.

When it comes to Christmas-themed horror movies, one can usually be glad if the film at hand is more entertaining than it is atrocious - with the absolutely brilliant Christmas Evil being the big positive exception. Seen from this perspective, veteran genre director Dick Maas's Sint is a success, as it does mildly entertain throughout its running time. Typically for its director, "mildly entertaining" is pretty much where it stops, though.

If you have any ideas about Maas's script using some of the obvious subtext about, say, the dark side of Christianity, or apply some social criticism through the film's idiotic conspiracy theory, you'd best forget them. This is a bread and butter horror film that just happens to have an undead Saint Nick and his burn-faced servants as its monsters, and really doesn't think about it any more than as an opportunity to add some winking and some jokes (it's something of a comedy) to the proceedings. It's all a bit inoffensive and not exactly bursting with imagination, but there's some competent gore and adequate horse riding over roofs action (yes, in this film, magical roof riding is merely adequate instead of awesomely ridiculous). And somebody gets killed at least every ten minutes.

This leaves Sint as the kind of Christmas-themed horror movie you can waste your time on without hating yourself afterwards. It's a perfectly alright movie for what it is.

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