Saint DVD Review
Written and Directed by Dick Maas
2010, Region 2 (PAL), 85 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 31st October 2011
Huub Stapel as Niklas
Egbert Jan Weeber as Frank
Caro Lenssen as Lisa
Escha Tanihatu as Sophie
Madelief Blanken as Natasha
Bert Luppes as Goert
Ben Ramakers as Van Dijk
Fast-paced, gory and highly entertaining was how I described this Dick Maas’ movie during my Frightfest 2011 coverage. It was a long weekend with some seriously heavy-going movies, so the more light-hearted nature of Saint made a welcome change. But in the confines of my own living room, would I still find the DVD release just as entertaining?
Here’s a quick history lesson for those that don’t know. Despite it being marketed as a Christmas movie, having snow and crackling log fires with stockings hung above and featuring St. Nicholas from whom we derived the character Santa Claus, the film doesn’t actually take place during Christmas. The action happens around the European festival of St. Nicholas Day, which is the 6th December.
As Saint opens we find a young Goert (Bert Luppes) witness a legend come true: When a full moon falls on the festival of St. Nicholas, he will come to wreak havoc on the earth with his band of orc-like helpers called Black Peters. And that’s exactly what happens to Frank’s family, the adults are murdered and his siblings are taken back to the evil saint’s ship. Fast forward 40-odd years and Frank is a washed-up police detective trying to warn everyone of an impending disaster. St. Nicholas Day is upon the town and there’s a full moon to coincide with the date…
On the other side of town, high-school kid Frank (Egbert Jan Weeber) is getting ready to go out with his friends to do their part-time gig; a St Nicholas with his own gang of Black Peters. When their sat-nav leaves them stranded in the wrong part of town, the real St. Nick and his buddies attack and leave all of Frank’s friends in rather messy pieces. Fleeing the scene, Frank is first hunted as a murderer until he hooks up with Goert – the only person who believes his story. From there the pair play a game of cat and mouse across the city with the supernatural Santa and his ugly elves trying to pick them off at every turn.
The great thing about Saint is that it’s completely unapologetic for what it is: a stalk and slash movie that’s set at Christmas. Sorry, on St Nicholas Day. In the same way that the later Friday the 13th movies had a supernaturally revived Jason stalk his prey, Saint features a zombie-like St. Nick that shows no mercy. And where American sensibilities would let children off with a lucky escape where Jason was concerned, they get no such leniency here. Santa comes for everyone, and he’s not discriminating. Adults get butchered, kids get kidnapped. Who knows what he does with them back on his ghostly pirate galleon? You never actually get a chance to think about that during the film as it rattles along at a blistering pace, including a fantastic chase scene between a police car and St. Nicholas riding a horse over the rooftops of the city.
Unless you’re not a fan of subtitles (Saint is in its original Dutch language with English subs) there’s really nothing not to like. It’s unashamedly uproarious entertainment with a festive twist.
Have you been naughty or nice? Doesn’t matter either way, Santa’s gonna get you.
Video and Audio:
Lots of night and lots of snow, but the 16:9 picture shows no sign of problems during these scenes. A slightly underwhelming 2.0 Dutch audio track accompanies, but I can't help feeling that a 5.1 would have benefited the action sequences.