Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Saint (2010)

English release: Saint, directed by Dick Maas
Some of the more interesting Christmas films in recent years have been overseas imports.  Did you see the much talked about Finnish film Rare Exports in theaters last year?  How about the 2010 Dutch film Saint?  Here's your chance:  Saint is showing at the Cedar Lee Theatre at a midnight screening on Friday Dec. 23rd.

Despite a decades long--perhaps centuries long--cover-up by police and governmental officials, one man predicts the inevitable return of a murderous ghost who seeks to punish during the holidays.  This horror film with a sense of humor sees the ghost of Saint Nicholas return only upon the night of December 5th when the moon is full.  Then, the angry saint atop a horse and accompanied by his unearthly minions roams the streets looking for chimneys to descend to find bloody vengeance against the living.

In 1968, young Goert is the sole survivor of a visit from St. Nick
The one man, Goert, who believes the legends of the vengeful St. Nick does so because he lost his entire family to this holiday violence when he was a young boy.  Now grown up and working as a police officer, Goert is dismissed as a kook until it's almost too late.  He finds another sympathetic soul willing to help him hunt down the murderous ghost--a teenager who has also seen and survived St. Nick's rage.

Who doesn't love a good ghost story at Christmas?
Fans of Christmas horror movies may be looking for similarities between Saint and the classics Christmas Evil and Silent Night, Deadly Night.  However, this killing Santa Claus has always been a corrupt force--even as a member of the clergy over 500 years ago.  In Saint, the legacy of this wicked member of the clergy has been re-written resulting in the modern mistaken belief that Saint Nick is a family-friendly do-gooder.  The conspiracy by the police and society stems from an unwillingness to see their own hypocrisy.   Unfortunately, this Christmas spirit can not be stopped by mere police weapons or a cover-up.

Up on the housetop, click-click-click
Don't worry if you're not really knowledgeable about the folklore of Sinterklaas or the Saint Nicholas legend of the Netherlands.  This movie provides enough exposition to allow you to follow the story and then understand how it twists the legend in order to make it a frightening tale.  There is some gore here though I would have preferred to see even more ribbons of red fill these Christmasy streets of Amsterdam.

If you don't live in Cleveland, don't fret: this movie can also be seen on DVD.  I just saw it on my local video rental store's shelf last night under the title Saint Nick.  Thanks to Bob at Cleveland Movie Blog for suggesting this title. 

What scares you at Christmas time?  (besides the opportunity for Aunt Agnes to give you yet another ugly Christmas sweater).

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