Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fantasia in December: Sint (aka Saint aka Saint Nick)

Every year, I mean to write up reviews of Fantasia screeners I missed; every year, I fall short. There's also a tradition of "Fantasia in December/January - a great way to make the long wait between them seem shorter!" This year, I swear it's going to happen, not just because there have been a couple of cases where I've found good hooks (Ocean Heaven paired semi-logically with 1911; Sint is a good anti-Christmas movie), but because several of them were movies that I genuinely wanted to see but couldn't make fit, as opposed to the stuff that was kind of interesting but easily sacrificed.

Plus, my DVR is unusually empty right now. So that means Fantasia screeners, the Oscilloscope and Film Movement subscriptions, and everything I've purchased in the past few years may get some attention. Stay tuned!

Sint (aka Saint aka Saint Nick)

* * * (out of four)
Seen 18 December 2011 in Jay's Living Room (Fantasia Screeners)

Believe it or not, two movies came out in Europe last year where the real Santa Claus was a murderous supernatural monster. Finland's Rare Exports zipped through the festival circuit and appeared in the U.S. at the same time it was released in its native land; the Netherlands' Sint took a more conventional path, waiting to be picked up for distribution and then spending a couple months on demand before being released on video as "Saint Nick". It's not bad at all for a holiday slasher for those who could use a break from non-stop good cheer this Christmas.

In the Netherlands, the traditional day of gift-giving is December 5th, on the eve of the feast of Saint Niklas. However, as we see in the prologue, the story of Sinterklass has a bloodier origin than is generally known, and as a result, every time there is a full moon on that date, the vicious Niklas and his "Black Peters" return to wreak havok on Amsterdam. In 2010, high school students Frank (Egbert Jan Weeber), Sophie (Escha Tanihatu), Lisa (Caro Lenssen), Hanco (Joey van der Velden), and Sander (Jim Deddes) are planning on going about their business without paying much mind to that urban legend, but Goert (Bert Luppes), a detective who saw first-hand what Niklas is capable of on his last visit in 1968, is preparing for war.

Though it goes off in a couple other directions at times, Sint is at its heart a teen slasher movie, and rest assured, Amsterdam-South's high school will be down a few students by the time class is back in session. It's almost amiable as such things go, with the teenagers being the expected horndogs screwing around behind each others' backs, but not really being malicious or spiteful about it. They are, for the most part, likable enough but not anybody the audience is going to get so attached to that audiences find their being hacked to pieces tragedies rather than a way to give them the gore they paid for.

Full review at EFC.

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