After exhausting my supply of Dutch jokes, our very own Netherlands correspondent Leopardo saw fit to supply his own this time top accompany his International Retro Review of Sint (aka Saint).

A Dutchman sees a tourist using his hand to scoop up water from one of Amsterdam’s canals and drink it. “Don’t do that, that water is filthy! You’ll get sick or die!”, the Dutchman says. The tourist turns around and says “was sagen sie?”. The Dutchman replies “mit zwei Hände!”

I am assured this is hilarious if you speak German. Anyway… the latest from Leopardo is festive season appropriate and is another work of art from our accidentally adopted Last Movie Outpost favorite, Dick Maas. We only like him because his name is funny and we are massively immature. Here is Leopardo.

Sint

Sint aka Saint

People seem to think Dick Maas is a funny name. Dickmass was one of the jokes in the comments last time (for Prooi), so this time I am going to do a review that is season-appropriate to that clever, clever joke.

You see, before people from other countries decided we were doing our own culture wrong, we celebrated the feast of Sinterklaas. Christmas was mainly for the tree and the church and stuff, but we had no Santa. We had Sinterklaas, who, together with his helper Zwarte Piet (Black Pete, often multiple helpers even, who were all called Piet with a descriptive prefix, like the Smurfs) came to houses of good boys and girls to put candy and presents in their shoes. Yes, Santa, Elves, stockings are basically the same thing, but ours came first!

Sint
“Merry Xmas, Prime Minister Trudeau!”

Sinterklaas is mostly a second tier holiday now, people gave up after it was decided for us that the character of Zwarte Piet, who is a dark-skinned character dressed in traditional Spanish nobleman’s clothes, was racist. And then Christmas took over. I don’t know. Originally Zwarte Piet was Moorish, so dark-skinned, but that changed to black because of the soot in the chimneys he climbs down.

He is usually played in heavy make-up, even when played by someone with dark skin. And that draws parallels with blackface and minstrel shows, which upset some people… usually the kind of white people who like to get upset on someone else’s behalf but who arent’t really affected themselves. That started around 10 years ago, and here we are. My kid’s too old so I have no skin in the game anymore, but I was sad to see the tradition go. I get the point that some people see the character as racist when seen without context, but the intent was never racist, so… the next generation will figure it out I guess.

Anyway, the movie. It’s one of those times where it seems Dick Maas saw something in an American movie and tried to do it himself. So, this is a horror movie that gives us a scary, murderous Sinterklaas like the scary, murderous Santas from movies like Santa’s Slay. It is short, gory, sometimes funny, and you shouldn’t take it too seriously.

Watch the trailer here:

The Cast

Egbert Jan Weeber – Frank
Bert Luppes – Goert Hoekstra
Huub Stapel – Niklas
Ben Ramakers – Van Dijk
Caro Lenssen – Lisa

Sint

The Plot

Sint starts with a flashback to December 5, 1492, and we see Niklas arrive by sailboat at a small village with some goons. They plunder the village, but the villagers fight back, eventually burning Niklas on his ship. Flash forward to December 5, 1968, where we witness a family in a farmhouse get slaughtered.

Sint

Then in the present day, we meet a bunch of insufferable teenagers who we can’t wait to line up to get disembowelled. The one we are supposed to care about mainly because the movie focuses on him is Frank. He is a Sinterklaas cosplayer for hire, for parties. We also meet Hoekstra, a policeman with an unhealthy obsession with Sinterklaas.

Frank’s ex-girlfriend is killed and he is, of course, the main suspect. Frank himself is attacked by a zombie Zwarte Piet gang. Nobody believes this of course.

As Sint progresses, we learn the true origins of the festival. Niklas was a satanic bishop, not a saint. He is also a zombie now. Zwarte Piet is not black from soot but from his burns. And nobody is safe, because every 42 years, December 5 has a full moon or something, and then Sinterklaas is free to come and kill everybody.

What Do I Think Of The Movie

It is bad, story-wise. It makes no sense and is even blatantly wrong even about it’s own narrative. This movie was a rush job, I have a feeling Maas got the idea and tried to get it made before the next December. Some of the VFX are just stupid – in the opening scene, the reflection of the ship in the water matches the reflection of the moon, but on the wrong side of the ship. That side should have been a shadow, the light of the moon shouldn’t pass through the ship to cause a reflection.

Sint

Sint also gets the details of it’s own legend wrong. As Hoekstra explains, December 5 isn’t Sinterklaas’ birthday but his death day! Great, but nobody ever said it was. December 6 is his birthday, December 5 is the night when he comes to bring the gifts. He travels back home the next day on his birthday. Also, a big deal is made about how a full moon on December 5 only occurs once every 42 years, but in the end the next one is said to be in 23 years. Keep the story straight!

It’s not all bad though.

Sint

One of the most traumatizing things to happen to a child is to find out Sinterklaas doesn’t exist. I like how this movie plays on that by making it even more traumatizing to find out that he does. Making the Zwarte Piets basically burnt zombie pirates was fun too. The jumps and some of the gory bits are pretty good too. And there is a chase scene with the police and Niklas on horseback across the roofs of Amsterdam which is well executed.

In Conclusion

You have to like this kind of thing. Sint is a horror comedy but it isn’t very scary and it isn’t very funny either. It would work better as a short or a creepshow half-episode or something. Still, it’s only 1 hour and 25 minutes long so you won’t really get bored. If you like you could also take the opportunity to make a few more Dick jokes in the comments.

I would also like to take this opportunity to complain about Dick Maas’ Dick Move. You see, when this movie was just about to be released, there was a marketing campaign where you could win crap like Sint mugs or T-shirts or whatever. But this was a scam, they just did it to harvest email addresses. Everybody who tried to win something always won, and they never had to send out the prizes because they made you pay a “shipping and handling” fee that was about twice the value of what you had just “won”. So nobody paid and nobody got anything. Bad form, Dick!

But the end-credits music rocks, so there is that.

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