Director: Dick Maas
Starring: Huub Stapel, Egbert Jan Weeber, Caro Lenssen, Bert Luppes
Plot: On Dec 5 1492 the evil former bishop Niklas and his gang where killed by an angry mob of villagers who refused to be be intimidated by the bishop and his gangs reign of terror. Now they return to seek murderous revenge whenever the anniversary of their death coincides with a full moon.
Review: One of the great aspects of the alt. Christmas season is occastionally getting to see how different countries choose to celebrate the festive season with the standout example of this being “Rare Exports” aswell as the more recent interest in Krampus but here its the turn of the Dutch in particular the festival of Sinterklaas which takes place on the 5th Decemeber the night before Saint Nicolas Day which Christmas Day was derived from. It of course only makes it all the more fitting when you consider the amount of Santa slashers out there that the Sinterklass mythos get a twisted re imagining as well.
Directed by Dick Maas who outside of directing music videos soley for classic rockers “Gold Earring” is no doubt best known for directing “Amsterdamned” and the killer elevator movie “De Lift” aswell as its English language remake “Down” and here he wastes little time setting the scene for the film as we open to slaughter of the a village by Niklas and his Zwarte Piet before they inturn are slaughtered and burned alive on their ship which is used to explain the black face appearance of the Zwarte Piet who at the same time are said to have black faces due to soot though to those not familiar with the mythos it can be kind of jarring to see characters being so enthusiastic about blacking up. From this opening we are quickly thrown into a second slaughter in which a young boy Goert (Luppes) is left the sole survivor who grows up to be a bitter police detective obsessed with getting his revenge.
Our main protagonist here though is teenager Frank (Weeber) who we see being dumped by his girlfriend during the exchanging of gifts being held by his class, which it seems is largely an excuse for the boys to give girls dildo as secret Santa gifts. Frank’s ex meanwhile gives him the gift of giving his stuff back not that he really cares of course seeing how he has secretly been seeing her best friend on the side. Things however take a turn for the worst when he escapes the massacre of his friends by Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Piet though the police not believing that Sinterklaas is anything than a myth are quick to label him the primes suspect in the murders happening around the city.
Shot at a brisk pace there really is very little fat to this movie as it feels like there is always something happening especially with the kill scenes being regularly peppered throughout the film including a jaw dropping chase scene which see’s Sinterklaas riding his horse along the city roof tops while being pursued by the cops.
Despite the largely fun tone of the film, there are actually a few surprisingly shocking moments of gore and splatter as limbs are regularly lopped of blood sprays in hosepipe spurts ensuring that it never gets too heavy. At the same time the make up effects are all fantastic and really add to these scenes especially the design of the zombie Sinterklass which really has a presence on the screen especially when accompanied by his horde of loyal foot soldiers.
The downside of the film comes with its weak ending which lacks any form of conclusion apart from giving us a nice big explosion, which somehow drives Sinterklass away rather than give us any proper kind of showdown which is only made the more disappointing when Goert is seemingly being built up for this climatic showdown which ultimately never comes. Still if you can get past this what we get here though is another fun international horror and one to file alongside the likes of “Rare Exports” and “Troll Hunter”