Saint Nicholas and his pages deliver presents to good little girls and boys every December 5th. Unless there is a full moon, then Nicholas and his zombie crew murder and wreak havoc through the streets of Amsterdam kidnapping and murdering children.
Also released as Saint and St. Nick.
I had never revisited this movie since first seeing it at Frightfest a few years ago, one of those movies that I thought was OK and something of a novelty especially watching a Christmas movie in August. So here I revisit it again as part of our plans for reviewing Christmas themed movies.
Taking the traditional Father Christmas story and warping it, St Nick is reimagined as a murderous and vengeful demon whom appears when there is a full moon on December 5th. So we are giving this a bit of artistic freedom before the movie has even started. Initially set in 1492 as we see how the evil St Nicholas story began as he is attacked with his band of men we then zoom to 1968 as we see the evil St Nicholas take his latest victims as when St Nicholas does come down the chimney it’s hardly the fluffy character they all remember!
Skipping forward to the present day, as the next lunar cycle has elapsed we find St Nicholas has returned to seek out more victims and here in lies the general premise of this movie. In his latest reappearance he starts bumping off a group of his victims in a variety of gruesome ways but all things considered this isn’t a movie to take seriously, it’s tongue is firmly in it’s cheek. As the movie progresses it just get’s progressively sillier, our incarnation of St Nicholas astride a horse riding across the rooftops of Amsterdam with the police trying to give chase. This is the sort of territory we are dealing with here folks.
Culminating in a finale as St Nicholas burnt out boat is discovered in the harbour the final showdown is just ridiculous but great gory fun, we are in DEAD SNOW territory here as St Nicholas and his demonic zombies are hunted down. A great way to end the movie, no shortage of bodies and grim demises all done in a way we really can not take too seriously.
So what to say about SAINT then… You know what it is one of them movies that is worth seeing, it’s an interesting spin on the Father Christmas story and the whole thing is a lot of fun. Was it worth a rewatch? The answer is no. It worked well on first viewing with a receptive cinema audience but when you have seen it once then that is enough. If you want something you have to suspend belief in, want to scratch your head and think what the f*ck and just generally have a bit of a giggle then you won’t go far wrong with this. It is what it is but once was enough.
Sint, tis a silly film.
Sometimes horror takes itself too seriously, or directors/writers can sometimes become a little too obsessed with their vision or try and outdo some (usually nonexistent) line in the sand. Sometimes people make a movie with a zombie bishop riding a horse over the rooftops of Amsterdam.
Sint runs along the premise that the traditional Saint Nicholas on St Nicholas’ Day when there is a full moon instead of giving out gifts, rampages through the streets of Amsterdam slaughtering and kidnapping. As far as I can tell the full moon part of the lore is made up for the movie, the St. Nick tradition ( bishop in red, giving presents to kids etc) is real though.
The main fodder for the band of killers is the usual food group, randy highschool/college kids, all of them (bar one) suffer rather annoyingly from the asshole factor (i.e. you don’t care about them one bit). The police detective Goert (who’s family happen to of been slaughtered during the last full moon) is great but a bit of a one dimensional character unfortunately. He is somewhat left on the back burner for a good chunk of the film, it would of been nice to of followed the character more. Anyone with bit parts and minimal screen time feel like they could of done with some acting lessons before shooting began, that said most don’t last too long…
The film has some serious cash behind it, which makes the acting quality somewhat weird. There are a lot of effects both CGI and practical and while not incredible or jaw dropping, they are also not awful enough for you to lose interest in the film. The use of fog and snow to drown out the cityscapes and help to focus the action nicely in some of the larger locations (like the boatyard and bay).
Sint is without a shadow of a doubt a real Christmas movie, and not in the Die Hard is a Christmas movie way. With that is the main issue the film will have with a wider audience in this country, we don’t celebrate Saint Nicholas in the UK the same way Europe does. We see a jolly fat bloke with reindeer once a year. In mainland Europe St Nicholas delivers presents to children, sending his paige Pete down the chimney – normally played by a man in blackface (which is a tad politically incorrect in this day and age). Instead of the coal Santa leaves, Pete and St. Nick kidnap the naughty boys and girls and ship them off to Spain to become slaves. Without the explaining the ‘real’ folklore (its briefly touched for about 20 seconds around 45 minutes in), the film may be a little strange on first watch to uneducated viewers. It leans heavily on the exiting traditions and folklore prevalent in Holland around the December 5th and then the filmmakers have added the full moon zombie part themselves.
Though to be fair, A zombie killer bishop and a ship full of zombie burn victims terrorising Amsterdam isn’t too difficult a premise to wrap your head around. (Explaining Black Pete tradition to my other half was a bit more difficult).
Sint isn’t perfect and it isn’t that spectacular of a movie. Its mediocre but silly, and over the top and certainly not a highbrow affair in the slightest. Its worth your time.