Encased in ice deep in the Korvatunturi Mountains is an evil monster, an immortal beast that thrives on the mass murder of children. This is no werewolf, no vampire, no alien life form. This is Santa Claus…
Refreshingly we’re thrust straight into the action in this Finnish curiosity from director Jalmari Helander. Following a large scale excavation under the guise of seismic testing, strange things begin to happen to the inhabitants of a tiny mountain village. After their whole herd of Reindeer are found torn apart, father and son, Rauno (Jorma Tommila) and Pietari (Onni Tommila) find the body of a naked and rancid old man impaled in their wolf trap. No-one listens to Pietari’s terrified warning; the coca-cola Santa is just a hoax – the real Santa Claus tears naughty kids to pieces. Next all the potato sacks in the whole village go missing. Pretty soon none of the children can be found.
Rare Exports balances it’s moments of horror and gore with a deliciously dark humour. Rauno enlists the help of Pietari and two fellow villagers to take the vile creature hostage, planning to sell it to the Americans. After biting off one of their ears it becomes clear he must be restrained and so is wrapped in plastic and hung from the ceiling by meat hooks. Taking a well deserved rest the team sit together and eat home-made gingerbread. The whole story is so fantastically absurd and demented there is nothing else to do but laugh.
What’s Good About Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale?
This movie is Home Alone, Scandinavian-style. Instead of Kevin McCallister we have Pietari, complete with Christmas jumpers and the obligatory bobble hat he is quietly charismatic without the face slapping and knee skids. This is my provincial Finnish village. I have to defend it.
What’s Bad About Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale?
Unfortunately there is some pretty dodgy CGI during the last sequence, no doubt a result of a very tight budget. It’s a shame but doesn’t spoil the overall effect. The only really bad thing about this movie is its limited release in the UK and the US making it quite difficult to get hold of.
What I Learned
I wasn’t a morbid child after all. I was right to be terrified at the thought of an old man repeatedly breaking into my home in the middle of the night – even if he did bring presents.
Refreshingly imaginative with that twisted humour the Nordics do so well, Rare Exports is a rare treat amongst the usual barrage of sickly festive crap. Although probably one to watch without the kids, this movie does have a wonderful feel-good ending and despite all the Satanic Santa stuff left me feeling full of timely festive spirit.