Monday, May 26, 2014

Saint Nick/Sint (2010)

One of the advantages of rating movies on Netflix is that I get recommendations.  One of the disadvantages of rating movies on Netflix is that I get recommendations from left field.  Saint Nick, a.k.a. Sint, is one such movie.  I think I came across this movie after rating Rare Exports.  Both are foreign films centered around a Santa-like being that you’d be better off not crossing paths with, despite what legend would have us believe.

Saint Nick is a Dutch film that revolves around the legend of Bishop Niklas, who was killed by villagers in 1492.  You see, the villagers didn’t like Old Saint Nick taking their money and kids, so they burned down his boat.  Now, every time a full moon falls on December 5, Saint Nick comes back to wreak havoc on Amsterdam out of revenge.

One such incident occurred in 1968.  A young boy named Goert is sent out to check on some livestock.  On his way back, he realizes that something bad has happened.  He witnesses Saint Nick and his henchmen fleeing, only to discover that his family has been murdered.

Cut to 2010.  Goert is now a police officer bent on catching Saint Nick.  He’s regarded as a bit crazy and told to take some time off.  He can’t very well leave it alone since it’s December 5; he knows that Saint Nick is coming.  It doesn’t help that it’s Sinterklaas, the annual day of celebration where people dress up as Saint Nick and his Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) companions.  Everyone thinks that Old Saint Nick is a jolly old guy.  It‘s in the best interests of authorities to play into this.  But Goert knows better.

Enter Frank, a local teenager who’s preparing for the holiday.  He’s going with some friends to a party, but can’t seem to find his way there despite GPS assistance.  His trip is cut short when Saint Nick shows up and slaughters his friends, ex-girlfriend and several others.  Frank is accused and arrested, despite Frank telling the truth.  Frank and Goert eventually meet.  Goert is resistant to Frank at first, but agrees to let him help when Frank is able to fix his boat’s motor.  It’s up to the two of them to stop evil Saint Nick

I should warn you that this is by no means a movie for children.  Aside from some sexual innuendo, we have very gory violence, very violent gore and suspenseful situations that would easily scare small children.  This is a horror movie above all else.  We get to see Saint Nick with a disfigured face, having been burnt in the beginning of the movie.  The Zwarte Piet aren’t anything to look at, either.  There are many deaths in the movie.  I would definitely keep small children away from this movie.

This isn’t to say that you’ll like it if you’re in to gore.  The main issue I had was the sub-par dubbing.  I watched this mainly because I could get it streaming through Netflix.  Unfortunately, Netflix didn’t give me the option to use subtitles.  (I’m not sure why Netflix subtitles some movies and dubs others.  Wouldn’t it be better to just subtitle everything?)  It’s a little goofy and distracting in some places.  It wasn’t bad enough to where I wanted to turn it off, but I would recommend getting it on DVD so that you have the choice.  (Apparently, the DVD does have subtitles.)

There are other issues with the movie, such as the use of blackface.  Two of Frank’s friends use blackface to dress up as the Zwarte Piet.  From what I’ve read, this is also objectionable in the Netherlands.  Another thing I found objectionable was that there was no attempt to rescue children on the boat.  Goert wants to blow it up, despite audible cries from the children onboard.

Overall, this isn’t a movie I could take seriously.  I’m not sure how much of it had to do with the dubbing and how much of it had to do with the writing.  There was one scene where one character is declared dead, then is able to sit up and speak one more time.  (I’m certain that this isn’t a dubbing error, as someone else makes a gesture to indicate that he’s dead.)

This was also one of those movies where something had to occur at midnight for Saint Nick and Co. to be killed.  At least here, it was explained that Goert would know that everyone was onboard.  Still, I usually find it odd that something has to happen at a particular time for the plan to work.

This apparently isn’t meant to be a movie that makes you think.  It’s supposed to be an action film.  There are problems with math where the time between events changes or doesn’t add up.  (The interval between Saint Nick’s appearances varies from 23 to 48 years, for instance.)  I can’t say that I’d recommend watching it.  It’s one of those sort of bizarre movies that’s not quite good at being bizarre.  It’s just one of those oddities that I happened to come across.  Maybe if someone had cleaned up the script a little and gotten rid of some offensive elements, it could be a good movie.

IMDb page

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