Friday, April 6, 2012

Sint (Saint Nick) (2011)

Unrated, 1 hr. 25 min.  Directed By:  Dick Maas.  DVD Release Date:  Dec 19, 2011.

I wasn’t expecting much when I started this movie on my Netflix streaming.  I really wasn’t, even though I think the concept is totally bad ass.  I don’t mean the whole Dutch horror thing, although that was also kind of cool… you know, the “other country heard from.”  I’ve been looking at horror across borders lately, thanks to a happy foray through horror from the UK, and Saint (called Saint Nick on Netflix due to some wonderful confusion over the finalized US title) will keep me going down that trail.  

I enjoyed this movie immensely despite its faults, and there are an absolute TON of those.  The dubbed dialogue is not only cheesy but remarkably funny, and possibly on purpose.  In fact, if I’d had to make a guess, I’d say this was always intended as horror comedy rather than pure horror, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen an example of such a successful hybrid effort.

There are a few moments in the mythology of Santa here that absolutely brilliant, spins on the tale that I would never have considered, such as the leaving of offerings (cookies and milk).  I always figured it was to help Santa complete his rounds.  Buuut, if you look at how some places set up their variants of the offerings, you could see how the habit could have evolved from a tribute, rather than a gift… although I guess there’s a thin line between tribute and gift.  

In some ways, this was one of the better put together horror films I’ve ever seen, although I don’t think this made me jump or feel fear once.  Saint does suffer pretty terribly from the problems that are universal to the genre:  acting was terrible at best, although they did try and blind us to that fact by dazzling us with a few pretty Dutch girls.  Like others in the genre, it has also attempted to use gore and violence in order to distract us from the holes in the plot.  For the most part, this story is pretty tight, but you usually know it’s about to go to hell when blood and guts start happening.  There are also a few moments that happen way too conveniently.

But that’s about the end of my complaints.  I mostly spent 90 minutes laughing my butt off.  Between the dubbing, some of the voices, and the dialogue itself, Saint is pretty win, although I gave them major points for having Santa Claus as a demonic killer.  Christmas-themed horror is not common; to my knowledge there are fewer than 5 feature-length movies where Santa (or in one case, a Frosty-like snowman) stars as the bad guy.  Just don’t let your kids watch this.