Friday, 2 September 2011



Santa Claus: what a bastard. About this time last year we had Rare Exports, the Finnish anti-Yuletide horror movie in which Santa was an absolute bastard who'd been encased in a glacier for thousands of years. Before that, you probably have to go back to the brace of rubbish 80s Santa slashers: Don't Open Till Christmas (rubbish) and Silent Night, Deadly Night (also rubbish). Now here's the Netherlands entry in the "season of illwill" genre: here the local equivalent of Santa is an absolute bastard who shows up every time there's a full moon on December 5 (every 36 years or so, apparently) and slaughters people.

Sint (Saint) is concerned with the legend of St Niklas, a homicidal bishop and his evil zombie acolytes, the Black Peters. 36 years ago, a kid called Goert was the sole survivor of one of Niklas' attacks: now he's a cop ridiculed as a hysteric for his warnings that it will happen again, tonight. Inevitably Niklas does appear and the carnage starts. But can Goert even find Niklas and the Black Peters, as everyone in town is dressing up in those costumes for the traditional December 5 festivities?

Dick Maas has made some terrific and enjoyable little movies in the past - Amsterdamned, The Lift, and its American reworking Down. And Sint is certainly not a bad film by any stretch - it's perfectly well done and sufficiently entertaining, and the dreaded Niklas is an imposing looking bogeyman figure. But for some reason it's a tad underwhelming and I was a little uncomfortable with the number of children who got killed over the course of the movie for no adequate reason (in the sense that they weren't rescued from the clutches of the Black Peters and thus perished in the final conflict). A Christmas movie in which kids die?!? There are some wonderful moments in the movie but ultimately it's only a qualified success.


No comments: