Sint also know as Saint and Saint Nick, is a Dutch horror film that features some notably bad English dubbing. At least in the version I watched, normally I watch foreign films in their native language with subtitles. I didn’t have access to that version and the poor dubbing actually increased the enjoyment for me. Much in the same way that it does for old kung-fu films. Sint has that wonderful B-Movie feel, and since its budget, (roughly adjusted in US dollars) was near 4.5 million. That seems like a lot but, for a horror movie that’s this ambitious it’s really not.
Sint opens on Dec 5, 1492 and former bishop and apostate St. Niklas (Huub Stapel) is marauding with his gang of thieves and murders. The town folks try to hide and lock the doors, but his men find their way into the villagers homes via chimneys. They start killing and plundering, something which the town-folk has had more than enough and seek vengeance on Niklas. They do this by setting his boat on fire after he and his men leave port, burning alive. Then we jump to modern-day with the town getting ready to celebrate their annuals Sinterklass celebration, having forgotten the truth about St. Niklas and romanticizing him. Only a select few know the truth and that every time the full moon lands on Dec 5, roughly every 23 years, St. Niklas and his Black Pete’s rise from the dead and set to killing and kidnapping children. The last time this happened was in 1968 when hundreds died, including Goert Hoekstra (Bert Luppes) entire family. In present day Goert is a policeman, who no one believes in his warning of Niklas and the towns curse. Frank (Egbert Jan Weeber) with two friends are going with two friends to a Sinterklass costume party. The trio gets lost and are attacked by Niklas’s Black Pete’s resulting in the death of Frank’s friends. He manages to escape, only to be arrested under the suspicion that he murdered his friends and his ex-girlfriend Natasha (Madelief Blanken). Who was murdered across town and discovered by her friend/Franks new girlfriend Lisa (Caro Lenssen). While being transported to a prison where he’s to be held. The officers witness the real Niklas riding his horse along the rooftops. The officers give pursuit and one manages to shoot Niklas’s horse causing him to crash, fall through a skylight, than through the floor, slide out a window and land on the cop car containing the officers and Frank. Frank manages to escape the car, but both officers are dead. Unlike the horse and Niklas, both of which still remain firmly undead. Goert rescues Frank from Niklas, frank faints during the rescue. When he awakes he’s on Goert’s boat, one that’s laden with explosive and set on a course for Saint Niklas’s cursed ship.
Sometimes I feel awkward for how much I enjoy holiday themed horror films. This one is no exception and while I do admit that it’s no Thankskilling, Silent Night Deadly Night, or even close to the caliber that Trick ‘r Treat is. Sint still has some fun scenes and a villain that while not unique or extraordinarily memorable, he’s still fun and works well for the film’s purpose.
The effects are a bit on the cheesy side, most notably when it comes the make-up for the Black Pete’s which has a wide range from pretty good to near laughable. The same can be said for Niklas’s horse, even though he isn’t featured that much, the fake burns look just that fake. On the other hand, I was impressed by Niklas’s make up, who’s burned visage spoke more about his character than his actions did.
The acting is lack-luster, but contains enough camp that it’s entertaining. But remember I’ve only seen the dubbed version, so the acting could be better and less campy. As I find all dubbed films to contain a sizable amount of camp, due to their very nature. My main issue was that I never felt connected to any of the characters or the events that was going on. None of the characters felt all that like-able. The film’s… hero for lack a better term, is a cheater. Which is the cause of Frank’s and Natasha’s break up. Natasha just didn’t know it was with that it was with her close friend Lisa, making him just slightly less like-able in my book.
Final thoughts, maybe this film would held more resonance if I had watched in the correct season. But it’s my personal belief that if it’s only scary one day out of the year, than its not scary. It’s quaint. Yes, I belive that might be the perfect word to sum up my feelings on Sint, quaint, the attractively unusual aspect not the old fashioned one. So, fun for what it is and that’s about it. While ambitions on regards to special effects, I feel that ambition could of been better spent other areas. But as Sint is a foreign film, from a culture that I have little knowledge about, I refuse to judge this film to harshly. 6/10