Saint Nick (2010)

One could read the second word of Saint Nick‘s title as not just a name, but a verb, as in “to cut into or wound,” for the unheralded film is the Netherlands’ entry in the horror subgenre of Santa Claus slashers. Both tongue-in-cheek and ax-in-face, writer/director Dick Maas’ movie loves to spill the red stuff — ho-ho-homicide!

Being set in modern-day Amsterdam, the shiny-as-tinsel film cannot be mistaken for our Silent Night, Deadly Night — not with all the seasonal-clad prostitutes waving from windows and talk of gobbling down marzipan. Even more, the slaying Saint Nicholas (Huub Stapel, Maas’ Amsterdamned) is informed by Old World design; with a red robe and a pointy hat, he bears more than a slight resemblance to the Pope. The difference is the leader of the Catholic Church does not rides across rooftops on a horse, nor carry a staff just sharp enough to make decapitation a breeze.

Legend has it that every time there’s a full moon on Dec. 5, Saint Nicholas rises from the dead to avenge his death in 1492. But to 25-year police veteran Goert Hoekstra (Bert Luppes, Black Book), it is no legend — his entire family, kiddos included, succumbed to the slaughter in 1968. The only person who believes the cop is a college guy (Egbert Jan Weeber) nursing a broken heart, because he just watched his pals in blackface get murdered on their way to a sorority party.

Presenting a nasty sense of humor throughout, Saint Nick has the air of feeling original, although it clearly isn’t, up until the tired climactic battle to the (not) finish. But in a film like this, all that matters is that heads roll, bodies are stuffed up chimneys, torsos are halved, and so on. Those happen. —Rod Lott

Buy it at Amazon.

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