Saint Nick has an "old school" feel to it. It's a supernatural slasher that comes equipped with its own mythos and its own readymade horror icon. I could definitely see this becoming a franchise. It's already infamous in The Netherlands, the native soil of director Dick Maas. Maas is no stranger to the horror community. He made commodious waves with 1983's The Lift, a venerated "killer elevator" flick that turned so many heads, it was given a facelift in 2001 by Maas himself. Actually, I don't know what drove him to remake his own cult classic, but that's neither here nor there. Saint Nick is the creepshow at hand.
I was going to start this review off by bewailing the paucity of watchable Christmas-themed genre films. However, this isn't a Christmas-themed genre film. The plot deals with the legend of St. Nickolas, a Dutch figurehead whose birthday is celebrated on the 5th of December in Amsterdam. An ominous prologue informs us that Nick was a bit of an asshole, so a band of villagers torched his schooner vessel. Problem solved! Not so fast, you sly devils. When the 5th of December falls on a full moon, a zombified Saint Nick (escorted by ashen abettors dubbed Black Peters...stop giggling) mounts a mutiny from beyond the grave. There's your set-up. The rest of Saint Nick functions as a basic slasher, but it has more to offer than your average "dead teenager" vehicle.
Maas milks the scenery for all its worth. This is an exceedingly stylish motion picture, although the low budget does tarnish some of the exterior shots (CGI moon, CGI water, etc.). The pacing is alert, and the gore is plentiful. The skeleton of the script could have been pulled from any late 80's/early 90's fright feature. Unfortunately, that means we're stuck with a stable of dull, interchangeable characters. There are two main protagonists, and we don't spend much time with them until the third act. At least the acting is passable. Just don't ask me to identify anyone by name. It probably sounds like I didn't enjoy Saint Nick, but I did. The titular profligate brutally murders a number of innocent children, so I couldn't hate this flick if I wanted to.
And yet, I'm not done whining. The climax...what the hell was that? Did I miss something? What's so important about loading the boat with dynamite? Was St. Nickolas subdued? Why was Godzilla implicated in the drug cartel? Clearly, I have questions that weren't answered. There are blotches around every corner, and as a "journalist," I am obligated to mention them. Still, these imperfections didn't piss on my viewing experience. I had fun with Saint Nick, and I wager most horror fiends will get a kick out of it as well. Again, it wouldn't surprise me if a sequel was commissioned. I say, why not? I would totally rent Saint Nick II: Beware of Big Black Peter.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 10:31 PM