Sint (Saint) Review

Movie: Sint (Saint)
By: Orlok666
Date: December 5, 2011

Dutch folklore with a twist

With “Sint” writer and director Dick Maas (“Amsterdamned”, “Down”, “Flodder”) gives a horrific twist to a popular Dutch folklore holiday Sinterklaas. When I was a kid the eve of Sinterklaas was one with a bit of fear and hopeful anticipation. Will “Sint” also fill my heart with fear or is it an easy attention grabber for the crowd?


Based upon… Sinterklaas

In The Netherlands on the 5th of December Sinterklaas is held, a festivity where Sint Nicolaas (based on a Bishop) will come by, rewarding the children who have been nice and sweet with presents and taking the children who behaved badly to Spain (where Sint Nicolaas resides). He arrives by steam boat a couple of weeks prior to the 5th of December and is aided by Zwarte Pieten (Black Peters) helping him out here and there and dropping presents through the chimneys for the good kids. The bad ones are taken to Spain. So far for the short roundup of the original tale. What did Dick Maas make out of it?


In the movie Niklas (so no Nicolaas, maybe Maas was afraid the real Sint Nicolaas would sue him) is presented as the leader of a gang of robbers, bearing the clothes of a bishop. The opening sequence is set back in 1492 shows us how our villain Niklas (played by Maas regular Huub Stapel) reign of terror came to an end. Ok, not really an end: each time a full moon shows on the 5th of December the deformed Niklas and his blackened henchmen return to slaughter the innocent.


The eve of Niklas

Amsterdam, present day. Enter Goert (Bert Luppes), a criminal investigator with a severe trauma regarding to Sinterklaas and a couple of highschool students with their own relational problems. Most notable are Frank (Egbert Jan Weeber) and Lisa (Caro Lenssen) two friends who like each other but are not ready to commit. Goert knows what’s going to happen on this eve with the full moon shining down but due his paranoia he’s sent off duty. That night Niklas arrives in Amsterdam and friends of Frank and Lisa start disappearing.


Dutch folklore with a twist on its best?

In the end most part of the film comes down on Goert en Frank who meet after the police chasing Niklas who flees on his horse over the typical Dutch roofs in Amsterdam. Even though the effects seem sometimes restrained by the budget of the film this police-chasing-Niklas scene is the highlight of the film. The end that should be spectacular feels as a letdown as if the all the budget was spend and they still had to make some ending. There was more gore in the movie than I expected, sometimes the effects weren’t that well executed but it was still nice to see that the director didn’t shy away from using it. One of the scenes that displays some chopped and cut limbs is when the car with Frank and his friends is stuck and his friends are being picked off one by one by the charred and burned henchmen of Niklas. I think the henchmen of Niklas also provide most of the suspense in the movie (even while it never gets that scary), hearing them walking on the roof or making sounds in the chimney.

Most characters in the film are as disposable as in every other slasher you come across. Here, mostly Egbert Jan Weber knows to find the right balance for his role but Bert Luppes sometimes feels like he’s just summing up his words in a panic and doesn’t really convince. Huub Stapel as Niklas occasionally feels a bit like a threat as in presence but he doesn’t have to do much apart from growling a bit; the real danger is the gang of robbers he brings along.

As often with a Dick Maas film there is a underlying humor throughout the movie, sometimes referring to the folklore tale as well as some situation jokes. That said, the movie never gets really, really gory nor extremely scary but his has a small share of well-timed scares. The more action packed sequences impress most but he didn’t forget to put in his signature shot: a dead body suddenly popping up.

All in all it is a nice watch and fun to see a Dutch tale being turned into a horror movie. So maybe it’s a bit more enjoyable to the people who celebrated Sinterklaas in their youth, bringing up memories when one was singing, feeling the tension in the air and awaiting a sign – a sudden, loud knock on the door by a neighbor- that Sint Nicolaas came by to deliver presents. But just like all anticipation en tension goes away by that one knock on the door this movie won’t linger in your mind the second the credits begin to roll.



Sint (Saint)


Sint (Saint)


Dick Maas


The Netherlands




Huub Stapel, Egbert Jan Weeber and Caro Lenssen