The Horror of Christmas: Sint (aka Saint) (2010), Into the Dark: A Nasty Piece of Work (2019), Silent Night (2012)

Review #1: Sint

Sint (2010) was written and directed by Dick Maas. Egbert Jan Weeber, Bert Luppes, Caro Lenssen, Huub Stupel, and Escha Tanihatu star.

On December 5, 1492, after St. Nicholas and his cronies are killed after raiding a village and killing several people. Every December 5th with a full moon hence, St. Nicholas returns and goes on a murder spree. Over time the village grows into the sprawling city of Amsterdam and the politicians and police begin to cover up the massacres so they don’t panic. In the present day, a cop who survived a previous massacre when he was a child decides to do everything he can to stop St. Nicholas once and for all.

One thing you should know is Sint is a Danish film with subtitles. Although, I’ve never been annoyed myself when I’ve had to read translated dialogue on the screen, some others may feel differently. You should also be aware that one scene in this film involves two characters in blackface. In Amsterdam, blackface isn’t seen as racist, although attitudes around it are starting to change.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. While its described as a horror comedy, there really isn’t much humor, and the little bit there is falls flat. But the horror part of the picture is done pretty well. There’s some suspenseful scenes and some pretty good scares and kills.

Clip from Sint

The acting is pretty good for a low-budget horror film. The story is intriguing and moves along at a good pace. The reverence that Amsterdam has for St. Nicholas is an interesting contrast to the horror he generates in the rest of the movie. The make-up for St. Nicholas is well done and really lends itself to the evil man he is. The effects for the various deaths are pretty well done. They appear to be mostly practical effects with some CGI to enhance the blood. The climax is pretty well done leading to an ending that actually wraps things up pretty well.

Trailer for Sint (aka Saint)

I would recommend Sint (aka Saint) (2010), especially if you like Christmas horror. It’s an interesting foreign horror from a country you don’t see a lot of movies come from. You can currently stream it on Hulu.

Review #2: Into the Dark: A Nasty Piece of Work

A Nasty Piece of Work is part of Blumhouse’s Into the Dark series that streams on Hulu. It was written by Paul Soter and directed by Charles Hood. Molly Hagan, Natalie Hall, Kyle Howard, Dustin Milligan, Julian Sands, and Angela Sarafyan star.

Ted and Gavin, along with their respective wives are invited to the boss’s house for a Christmas party. However, it turns out that Steven intends for Ted and Gavin to compete for a promotion. Things soon go off the rails.

This was a pretty fun installment of the Into the Dark series. Examining the horrors that men are capable of committing on others is always something I find fascinating. It’s one of the reasons I’m so fascinated by The Purge series. The casting was perfect. You have the rich, spoiled wife who likes to taunt her husband for excitement. You have the guy so desperate for money he’s a hair trigger away from exploding. The other guy is deep in debt to live a lifestyle he can’t afford. Ted’s wife is a mediator, while Gavin’s wife is a greedy bitch who depends on her looks. They all make for fascinating characters to watch.

The story is fast paced and keeps you on your toes as you never know what’s going to happen next. The depravity rich people are capable of is in full display here. Where the movie falters is the ending. It’s too abrupt and doesn’t build up well. I would’ve liked to see the end stretched out a little more.

I would definitely recommend Into the Dark: A Nasty Piece of Work. While the ending could use some work, it’s a fun, nail-biting ride getting there. You can stream it on Hulu now.

Trailer for A Nasty Piece of Work

Review #3: Silent Night

Silent Night, a remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984), was written by Jayson Rothwell and directed by Steven C. Miller. Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Donal Logue, Rick Skene, Ellen Wong, Brendan Fehr star.

During the Christmas season in a town in Wisconsin, a man dressed as Santa Claus goes on a murder spree. Only Aubrey, a slightly inept town cop can stop him.

Like I said this is a remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984), but it only has a few moments in common with the original, other than the killer Santa. There’s a scene where a character’s grandfather gives him a warning to avoid Santa. There’s a re-enactment of the antler kill. And a character homages Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 ( ), by mentioning garbage day. And in this version, the killer is a random, although he was traumatized as a child.

For a remake, this film isn’t too bad. In all honesty, with the exception of the reminders to the original, it really stands on its own. The cast is pretty good, although there is definitely some bad acting. Jaime King makes for a decent Final Girl. She struggles to be a good cop, living up to the example of her father, while constantly being put down by her boss. It’s interesting to watch her character grow throughout the movie. Although some of the decisions her character makes are just dumb.

Clip from Silent Night

The story is pretty simple, but evenly paced. The climax was done very well and didn’t feel rushed. There weren’t any moments where I felt bored. With the exception of one brief moment, the killer was silent. We only find out his motivation for his murder spree through a couple flashbacks. Some of the kills were pretty good, although I would’ve liked to see more blood. But the special effects were nice, considering this was probably very low budget.

Silent Night recreates an iconic kill from the original

If you need more killer Santa’s in your life, I would recommend Silent Night (2012). But you should definitely watch the original first. It’s a cult classic for a reason.

A pervert pastor gets what’s coming to him
Silent Night trailer

The Horror of Christmas: Better Watch Out (2016), You Better Watch Out (aka Christmas Evil) (1980)

There will be spoilers for Better Watch Out (2016).

Better Watch Out (2016) was written by Zach Kahn and Chris Peckover and directed by Chris Peckover. Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould, Dacre Montgomery, Patrick Warburton, and Virginia Madsen star.

Ashley is planning to move away, but has one last baby-sitting job. Luke has a huge crush on Ashley, but he’s only twelve. When there’s a home invasion, Ashley and Luke are terrified. But Ashley soon discovers things are not as they seem and before the night is over she’ll go through an ordeal she won’t soon forget.

I remember when Better Watch Out originally came out, but for whatever reason, I had never watched it until now. What starts out as a typical baby-sitter and kid get attacked movie twists into something else entirely. Luke and his friend Garrett have tricked Ashley into believing the home is being invaded so he can put the moves on her. However, she discovers the truth about the situation and the movie becomes something ever. Little 12-year old Luke is a budding serial killer and wants Ashley all to himself, so he tied her up and tortures her. He also manipulates Luke to do his bidding and invited Ashley’s most recent boyfriend and her ex to kill them.

This movie is pretty great. A lot of twists and turns that feel organic and propel the story forward. The pace is nice and it never feels dull or boring. The cast does a great job. Levi plays a very believable psycho. Olivia is fierce as the Ashley, put into an unexpected situation, but always trying to figure out how to get out of it.

There’s not really much gore and while there is blood, the major carnage is kept off-screen. But it works well and doesn’t detract from the film. The image in your mind of what Ricky’s head must look like after his death is probably much nastier than what they could have put on screen.

Someone’s at the door…
Ricky’s death

I would definitely recommend you check out Better Watch Out (2016). It’s currently streaming on Shudder.

Better Watch Out (2016) trailer

You Better Watch Out (aka Christmas Evil) (1980)

You Better Watch Out was written and directed by Lewis Jackson. Brandon Maggart, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Dianne Hull star.

Harry was traumatized as a kid, learning Santa wasn’t real. He’s grown up into a man obsessed with Santa and even keeps track of whether the people in his life are good or bad. Finally, one Christmas he snaps and commits some murders while delivering presents to kids and people who’ve been good.

I had never heard of this movie but came upon it on Shudder, so I decided to watch it. I regret every minute of it. This movie is absolutely awful. The logic behind the movie is incredibly faulty. The inconsistencies in Harry’s character are mind boggling. The cast is pretty good and DeMunn has actually gone on to do some great work in the horror genre. The movie is plodding and excruciatingly boring. Just when you think we’re going to get some awesome kills, the movie goes another way. And the three or four kills we do get aren’t even that great.

John Waters calls this his favorite Christmas movie, but I can’t understand why. It’s not a fun watch at all. We watch an unhinged man fall further into madness, but his craziness never feels scary. It just feels pathetic. Like the lovable loser in a romantic comedy type of character. I just did not get into this movie. It has potential, but for me it fell very flat.

One of the only interesting scenes in the movie

I would not recommend You Better Watch Out (1980). But should you decide to watch it, you can stream it on Shudder.

You Better Watch Out (1980) trailer

The Horror of Christmas: Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

Anna and the Apocalypse was written by Ryan McHenry and Alan McDonald, with John McPhail directing. Ella Hunt, Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire, Christopher Leveaux, Marli Siu, Ben Wiggins, Mark Benton, and Paul Kaye star.

Anna and the Apocalypse follows Anna and her friends during their senior year. As they struggle with their plans for after graduation, a zombie apocalypse breaks out and changes things for the group.

I went into this movie completely blind. I had seen a trailer awhile ago, but all I really knew was that it was a zombie musical. And that it was British. I was very skeptical that I would be into it. I figured it would be cheesy and lame. But, goddamn, I really enjoyed it. I’ve never been so glad to be wrong.

Anna singing her heart out, completely oblivious to the carnage around her

The cast was phenomenal. Every actor played their part well. Especially Emily Hunt. She carried the movie well and really made me dare about Anna. Who doesn’t remember the struggle of facing the end of high school and wanting to strike out on your own, but also wanting your family to understand? Or John wanting to be more then friends with Anna? Or Steph’s struggle with being an outcast? Anyone who watches this movie can find themselves in it.

The zombie make-up and gore were exceptional. Although I would’ve liked more. But I always feel like we also could always see more zombie carnage. It was nice to see practical effects and very little to no CGI. It’s a rare sight these days.

Nick kicks some zombie ass

The plot and music go hand in hand, par for the course in musicals. The music is phenomenal. It’s very pop, which might draw comparison’s to other high school musicals. But that would be a mistake. The music does a great job of expanding on the plot and characters without seeming out of place. It really gels well together and I think would have felt less enjoyable without the music. Character development can be a tricky thing to do in a 90-minute movie, but by making Anna and the Apocalypse a musical, we really get to know the characters and how they feel. The plot is pretty basic. Teens struggling with life decisions face a zombie apocalypse. But the cast and music make it so much more.

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017) is definitely a movie worth watching and it is officially in my annual Christmas watchlist. And it should be in yours too. You can currently stream it on Hulu or Amazon.

Anna and the Apocalypse trailer

Trailers and Clips: Fantasy Island (2020), Redhanded (2019), Dracula (1979), Prophecy (1979)

Fantasy Island (2020) trailer

Coming Valentine’s Day 2020 from Blumhouse and Sony Pictures is Fantasy Island. Based off the classic tv series, Jeff Wadlow brings us a horror take with a script by himself, Jillian Jacobs, and, Christopher Roach. Maggie Q, Michael Pena, Portia Doubleday, Kim Coates, and Michael Rooker star.

Redhanded (2019) trailer

Redhanded (2019) releases on December 3rd, written and directed by Frank Peluso. Michael Biehn, Ryan Carnes, Owen Burke, Kenzie Dalton, and Rick Salomon. A group of brothers travel to a river in Oregon to spread his ashes. After one of their kids goes missing it triggers memories of one of them being abducted 30 years ago. Only by solving the mysteries of the past can the brothers find the missing kid.

Clip from Dracula (1979)
Clip from Dracula (1979)
Dracula (1979) trailer

Out on Blu-Ray from Scream Factory is Dracula (1979), directed by John Badham, with a script by W.D. Richter. Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence, and Kate Nelligan star. In 1913, Dracula travels to England to search for a bride.

Clip from Prophecy (1979)
Clip from Prophecy (1979)
Prophecy (1979) trailer

Out from Scream Factory is 1979’s Prophecy, directed by John Frankenheimer from a script by David Seltzer. Talia Shire, Robert Foxworth, Armand Assante, and Richard Dysart star. A giant killer bear attacks after being mutated by toxic waste. A classic animal attack horror movie that has to be seen to be believed.

October 30th: Omen IV: The Awakening, The Omen (2006)

Review 1: Omen IV: The Awakening

Omen IV: The Awakening was to be directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard, but he left over creative differences and was replaced by Jorge Montesi. Brian Taggert and Harvey Bernhard wrote the story, with the teleplay being written by Brian Taggert. Faye Grant, Michael Woods, Michael Learner, Madison Mason, Ann Hearn, and Asia Vieira star.

Karen and Gene York adopt a baby they name Delia after years of trying to get pregnant. Life is perfect at first, but then bizarre events and deaths begin to plague the family. After becoming unexpectedly pregnant, Karen begins to believe that Delia is evil and tries to find the identity of her parents.

This was a made-for-tv movie and it shows. Limited violence, little to no blood, and a weak story. The only thing going for it is the twist at the end, that unfortunately comes too late to salvage this movie. The pace is uneven. There’s no suspense or tension. It’s a luke-warm movie.

The cast is adequate. Kate is our focal point and Faye does a pretty good job. Ann Hearn is nice as well, but her character is so underdeveloped it’s hard to care. Asia is a poor choice as Delia. Rather than looking scary as the potential Antichrist, she just looks angry. Like a kid who got her favorite toy taken away. The rest of the cast does the best they can with the script. But there’s basically no character development. One character is a nun who seems to have a crisis of faith, but we don’t really get to see her full arc.

Karen learns the truth about Delia in Omen IV: The Awakening

The deaths and special effects are practically G-rated. Everything is pretty much off-screen or as unexplicit as it could possibly be. The most interesting death involves a character falling out of window (or being thrown). A potentially interesting death involves a construction site, but nothing is seen. Another death involves snakes and leads to some interesting make-up effects, but it’s still weak at best.

Omen IV: The Awakening (1991) gets 3/10. They try, but fail to make a compelling movie. This is a movie you should definitely avoid.

Omen IV: The Awakening trailer

Review #2: The Omen (2006)

John Moore directed The Omen (2006) from a script by David Seltzer. Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite, and Mia Farrow star.

The plot is identical to the original 1976 The Omen. Robert Thorn replaces his deceased child with an orphaned baby to spare his wife Katherine the grief of losing the baby. They name him Damien and after five years of peace, bizarre events begin to plague the family.

This movie is pretty much exactly the same movie they made in 1976, save for some updates to match up with the present day. The difference is: the acting is mostly horrible and the tension and suspense are non-existent. The absence of the Jerry Goldsmith score is also glaring. This movie is as big a dumpster fire as the 1998 remake of Psycho.

With the exception of Mia Farrow, the acting in the film is garbage. Everyone feels like they’re phoning it in. It lacks the emotional resonance of the original. The chemistry between Liev and Julia is particularly awful. They feel more like brother and sister than husband and wife. Liev feels emotionally distant from the material, as if he’s just reading cue cards. He’s very wooden and dispassionate. Seamus is an awful choice as Damien. Not only can he not act, he can’t emote either. Unlike Harvey Stephens, who was chilling as Damien in the original Omen, Seamus just looks like he’s making goofy faces. You don’t feel like he’s a threat. In fact in some scenes he just looks constipated. The one thing they did right that stood out was the constant use of bright red. Red of course is a color most often associated with Satan, so its use throughout the film is very appropriate.

The Omen (2006) is a 3/10. Avoid this movie at all costs. If you want a really great horror movie about the Antichrist, watch the original.

The Omen (2006) trailer