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Saint – 6

Director – Dick Maas

Cast – Huub Stapel, Egbert Jan Weeber, Madelief Blanken, Caro Lenssen, Kees Boot, Escha Tanihatu

Release Year – 2011

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Debuting in their home countries at roughly the same time, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale and Saint both gave us something we rarely see in the horror genre, a killer Santa Clause / St. Nicholas. Rare Exports stole the scene and praise of horror reviewers (including myself), and while Saint seemingly fell under the radar it is far from a bad effort. Never taking itself seriously and instead focusing on delivering a zany blood-fueled mess, Saint provided enough of the goods to make for a flawed but still enjoyable watch so long as you can forgive a little.

The St. Nicholas you learned of as a child is far from the St. Nicholas in this story, a bishop who slaughters children when there is a full moon on December 5th. Several decades after his last gory venture, St. Nicholas is back to slay the young and must be stopped by the only person aware that the legend is true, a child who survived and is now a seasoned police officer.

Saint takes off right away and throws us into the carnage resulting from St. Nicholas and his goons slashing away at the children of a small village, unknowingly leaving a single survivor, a young boy. Fast forward to present day Amsterdam and the young boy is now a police officer on the edge of retirement, however trembling in fear in anticipation of December 5th and its predicted full moon, the first time the occurrence will happen since the traumatic event he suffered as a youngster. Sadly there was no real proof to show that it was St. Nicholas who killed all of the children in the small village, so obviously no one believes the police officer, but eventually they learn he has been speaking the truth all along when St. Nicholas makes his way into town. We watch Nicholas and his thugs slay all who cross his path, both young and old, in retaliation for being burned alive by the villagers decades ago. There are two sub-plots essentially, the one involving the officer and another involving a young man thrown into the mess when his friends are hacked up in front of him. Both of the sub-plots worked well and managed to keep me engaged, however the biggest selling point of the story is St. Nicholas and all of the people he killed. This really is a simple tale consisting of St. Nick tearing people up and eventually being pursued by the authorities, and if you are in this for some fun gory kills then that should be enough for you.

Writer Dick Maas (if you remotely know Spanish you may laugh at his name like I did) also serves as the film’s director, and while his direction was so-so at time it was good enough in the end. Most importantly, his direction of the horror was great, giving us awesome kills via live-action FX and shot in hilarious fashion at that. There were times when CGI was used, and it was a bit laughable I admit, but in all fairness the scenes included shots that would have been very hard to recreate with live-action FX, so I was forgiving on that. As with many Dutch/Netherlands films the scenery is great and the cinematography is fantastic, which along with the gore made for the biggest selling points regarding Maas’ direction as everything else, positive acting performances included, took a backseat to the horror.

Overall, Saint is a fun killer-Santa effort that delivers good gore and loads of fun thanks to Maas’ heavy reliance on the horror to sell his film. The story is incredibly simple and does not offer much aside from the Santa killings, but in the end I fell Dick Maas achieved what he set out to do.

Rating: 6/10

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