Christmas Horror: Sint

Lee takes another stab at Christmas horror movies.

My chapstick!!!! Who stole it?!!!
When a murderous pattern is discovered on the eve of Saint Nicolas Day, one man vows to put an end to the tyranny of Sinterklaas. Sint (also known as Saint and Saint Nick) is true to Dutch Christmas tradition. 

The film highlights the humorous poems that accompany gifts, and the festive carols children sing around their shoes in hopes of receiving a chocolate letter from Saint Nicolas. Director Dick Maas’s film about the “so called” jolliest of saints is refreshingly original. He does justice keeping true to tradition, but distorts the truth just enough to turn a beloved character into a sinister villain. What’s nice about this approach is the creepiness factor. While killers dressed as Santa Claus is nothing new in American film and television, the portrayal often comes off as comedic. Sint succeeds where many Santa themed horror films have failed. Maas’s script effectively pulls off a film of yuletide terror without coming off as a novelty. This helps enhance the horror element of Sint (at least from an American perspective). 

Oh. I didn't know it was one of
THOSE movies!
Maas does a great job building suspense. There are several slow burning moments of tension, with a few scene in particular reminiscent of John Carpenter’s Halloween. The use of heavy snow is an effective element in the film. Blizzard conditions distort several scenes, giving viewers only a glimpse of silhouetted shadows. The beginning sets up the film well with a flashback montage that gives the story a bit of history before the actual plot is established. What really sets this film apart from other holiday horror offerings is the gore. While it isn’t over the top, the film is more graphic and bloody than most. And Saint Nicolas is wicked. His evolution in the film is more associated with the supernatural, giving Father Christmas a paranormal quality.

The film does stagger at times, tripping over needlessly dragged out scenes, but it doesn’t sidetrack the film for too long. The ending is typical for horror - an open story with partial resolve. It doesn’t necessarily tarnish the last impression, but it is a bit disappointing considering the originality of the script. Overall, Sint is a fun film filled with graphic gore and suspenseful action. The film did cause a bit of controversy before its release with its promo poster. It showed Sinterklaas with a horrific distorted face. Many parents feared it would scare children, or prematurely cause them to learn the truth about Christmas and Saint Nicolas. A court case was called after a legal complaint was made, demanding the removal of the posters. The judge ruled in director Dick Maas’ favor, thus forever ruining the holidays in the Netherlands.  

-Lee L. Lind