Dick Maas, the man behind mad Dutch horror films Amsterdamned
and The Lift, comes this hugely entertaining
entry in the festive horror genre – a tale that takes myth
and traditional and adds a tasty mix of gore and black humour.
As a pre-Christmas tradition in the Netherlands, St Nicholas and
his assistant Black Peter will visit homes, leaving gifts –
and punishing the naughty. But while this is usually an event
that is an excuse to hand gifts to friends and family, every so
often the date coincides with a full moon, at which time the real
Saint Nicholas and his army of mutant monsters will return to
rampage across Amsterdam, killing hundreds. As an obsessed cop
– whose family were slaughtered on a previous occasion –
and a teenager who is falsely accused of killing his ex-girlfriend
and mates team up to track down and destroy the zombie-like Saint
Nicholas, the authorities are scrambling to cover up the truth
behind the killings.
Short on plot but long on action, Saint is a
real roller coaster ride of a horror film, with tongue firmly
in cheek as Saint Nicholas gallops across the rooftops on his
horse (with some terrible CGI thrown in), chased by the police
and merrily dismembering and decapitating anyone who gets in his
way. Mixing very Dutch ideas and American slasher movie
tropes (including teenage characters who all look to be in their
mid-Twenties), Maas conjures up a thoroughly entertaining tale.
Admittedly, if you are unfamiliar with Dutch festive traditions,
the whole thing is quite bewildering – there’s only
a cursory attempt to explain it to English-speaking viewers –
but eventually, you start to understand what it’s all about.
More po-faced viewers might be shocked by characters ‘blacking
up’ as Black Peter in the Dutch tradition, though of course
this simply adds to the gleefully tasteless nature of the whole
With a strong cast playing characters who are generally likeable
(British filmmakers take note) and a fairly non-stop approach
to the action, Saint is huge fun, and just the
thing for alternative Christmas Day viewing!
IT NOW (UK)
IT NOW (USA)