Looking for a Christmas horror movie that feels like a 80s teen slasher flick? Look no further than Saint Nick (2010). The Dutch film is better known as Sint and is a mix of gory horror with a little bit of unintentional comedy. Remember that scene in Miracle on 34th Street where Kris Kringle sings about Sinterklaas to the little Dutch girl? Well, Sinterklaas is real but unlike our Santa Claus, he’s a bloodthirsty killer.
The movie opens in 1492 with a mob being led by Bishop Niklas on a rampage of killing and looting. That is until one village has had enough and decides to kill Niklas and the gang. Then we flash forward to 1968 and witness a mysterious figure killing a family. Turns out Niklas and his gang return every 23 years on December 5 when there is a full moon to kill once again. The public celebrates December 5 as his birthday when in reality it’s the day he died. What a perfect time for them to return since so many other people are dressed just like them. They blend in, making it the perfect disguise. We flash forward again to 2010 and it’s time for Niklas (Huub Stupel) and his gang to kill once again. The gang look burned as that is how they died in real life. Bullets can’t kill them but fire scares them away. Why don’t Jason or Freddy has a gang of sidekicks?
Our main hero is Frank (Egbert Jan Weeber), who is falsely accused of being the killer. Caro Lenssen is his girlfriend Lisa, somewhat shy and innocent. Then we have the ex-girlfriend Sophie (Escha Tanihatu) who is marked for death the minute we see here playing the role of babysitter. And finally we have Goert (Bert Luppes), a survivor of the ’68 killings who witnessed Niklas and is now a cop being laughed off the police force because he can’t get anyone to believe in what he saw. The characters are all created in the standard 80s slasher flick mode. Basic characters who are played by interchangeable actors.
The acting here is acceptable, not quite up to award-winning status but clearly above most direct-to-DVD dreck these days. There are some questionable CGI moments but better than you’re going to see in your average Saturday night SyFy “classic”. You have to admit the scene of Niklas riding his horse on the rooftops as he’s being chased is definitely different. The old school makeup for the gang works but is nothing spectacular. However, the image of Niklas is what makes this movie work. With his bishop outfit, staff and horse shrouded in the shadows, one would think he’s been taking slasher acting lessons from Jason and Michael Myers. Who needs a machete when a staff does the trick? We get a fair amount of gore, which is where the CGI goes astray. Would it really hurt these modern day horror film makers to use real blood instead of paying the local computer expert to insert the fake blood?
One of the more interesting aspects of the movie has to deal with the mystery behind the killings. Spoiler Alert! It turns out the authorities are behind a massive cover-up involving the Catholic Church. The added background is interesting and a good twist. Not necessarily your run-of-the-mill slasher back for revenge. While Saint Nick lacks the presentation that we had in Rare Exports, it does give children another reason to be scared of the man in the red suit. I recommend Saint Nick for a change-of-pace if you go in with lower expectations. It’s available on DVD but make sure you watch it with sub-titles. Not necessarily a new tradition but worth a look.