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''Sint'' (released on DVD as ''Saint'' in Europe and ''Saint Nick'' in the United States) is a 2010 Dutch dark comedy horror film about Sinterklaas, the character on which the Anglo-Saxon Santa Claus is based. The film was directed by Dick Maas and marked his return to the horror genre, in which he gained acclaim with his debut ''De Lift'' (1983) and ''Amsterdamned'' (1988). The story distorts the popular traditions of Sinterklaas and portrays him as a ghost who murders large numbers of people when his annual celebration night coincides with a full moon.

Plot

On 5 December 1492, a gang led by former bishop Niklas is killed by villagers who refuse to put up with the gang's looting and killing any longer. In years in which the gang's death date coincides with a full moon, they return as murderous ghosts. The public is unaware of this and annually celebrates the Sinterklaas tradition on 5 December, with adults not believing that Sinterklaas exists but making little children believe that he is benevolent. The Zwarte Pieten are not blackened by soot from chimneys but as a result of the fire in which they were killed. Niklas' crosier (bishops’ staff) has sharp edges and is a weapon. On 5 December Sinterklaas and the Zwarte Pieten do not stand out, as many people are dressed like them for the celebration. The last time the ghostly gang returned was in 1968. Hundreds of people were killed, including the whole family of a little boy, Goert, who is now a police detective. The authorities downplay the incidents, and they, as well as the Roman Catholic Church, keep the possible involvement of Niklas a secret. Since there is a full moon on 5 December 2010, Goert is very concerned and recommends forbidding all Sinterklaas activities and increasing surveillance, but he is not taken seriously and sent on leave. As Goert predicts, the gang returns and kills hundreds of people. While the gang is immune to bullets, they are finally chased away by fire.

Cast

* Huub Stapel as St. Niklas, an evil bishop who was killed 475 years ago and murders every 23 years on 5 December. * Egbert Jan Weeber as Frank, a teenage boy who is falsely accused of being the 5 December killer. * Madelief Blanken as Natasha, a good friend of Frank. * Caro Lenssen as Lisa, Frank's new girlfriend who believes in the myth of the evil bishop. * Escha Tanihatu as Sophie, Lisa's best friend. * Niels van den Berg as young Goert * Bert Luppes as Goert, a suspended police officer who survived Sint's murderous attack 40 years earlier and does not observe the Sinterklaas holiday anymore. * Cynthia Abma as Lisa's mother * Kees Boot as a police officer * Joey van der Valden as Hanco, a good friend of Frank * Jim Deddes as Sander, another friend of Frank

Reception

''Sint'' received negative reviews upon its release, with critics stating that the film's premise showed promise, but never reached its full potential. Chris Cabin of ''Slant Magazine'' rated the film one out of four stars, calling it "predictably plotted and visually monotonous", criticizing the film's "unexceptional" kills and, lack of tension and/or scares. James Dennis from '"Screen Anarchy'' gave the film a mixed review, writing, "With strong effects work, it's a breezy, fun ride while it lasts, but it's not something that will linger in the mind long. And that's a bit of a shame given the potential of Saint's creepy premise."

Controversy

Although children were not permitted to see the film, parental concern arose over the film's poster, seen in the streets and in the lobbies of movie theaters. It shows Sinterklaas with a mutilated face and a malevolent look. Some people were concerned that this could be confusing and frightening for little children who still believe in Sinterklaas. A legal complaint was filed in October 2010, requesting the removal of all posters. In the subsequent court case, director Dick Maas argued that if parents could make their children believe that Sinterklaas existed they could also inform their children that the man on the poster was not the real Sinterklaas. The court ruled in favor of Maas, noting that the mutilated face was not visible enough on the poster, and rejected the complaint.


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* * * {{Rotten tomatoes|sint Category:2010 films Category:2010 horror films Category:2010 comedy horror films Category:2010s Christmas horror films Category:Christmas horror films Category:Dutch films Category:Dutch comedy horror films Category:Dutch slasher films Category:Dutch-language films Category:Films directed by Dick Maas Category:Sinterklaas films Category:Films set in the Netherlands Category:Films shot in the Netherlands Category:2010 comedy films