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Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (English Subtitled) 2010

R

In this darkly comic gem, it's Christmas Eve in northern Finland, and an archeological dig has just unearthed Santa Claus. But this Santa isn't one you want coming to town. When local children begin disappearing, Pietari and his father capture the mythological being and attempt to sell Santa to the corporation sponsoring the dig.

Starring:
Onni Tommila, Jorma Tommila
Runtime:
1 hour, 23 minutes

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on August 4, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Looking for something off the beaten path this Christmas season? The Finnish oddity "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale" might just be the cure for your holiday blues. Part fantasy, part horror, part black humor--this delightful film manages to adhere to traditional Christmas movie conventions while upending them at the same time. It's an unusually deft balance that makes this both hard edged and heartfelt. While not a perfect movie--once the main action begins, things fall rather too conveniently into place--it is distinguished by its brilliantly bold concept. And despite minor reservations, I have to award "Rare Exports" my respect for its unorthodox story line and wickedly acerbic sense of humor. Destined for cult movie status, I have no doubt that this film will perplex some viewers. But for adventurous movie lovers, I can't think of a better antidote to typical holiday fare.

Set in north Finland, the reindeer population is found dead by local herders . Maybe it has something to do with an American work crew excavating a nearby mountain. There is a disturbing legend about Santa in these parts. It seems that the jolly old fellow wasn't so jovial, but instead was quite evil. He was killed and buried in these hills according to lore and it seems that the Americans might be looking for the genuine Santa Claus. As with any good Christmas story, the protagonist is a spirited boy with a hard scrabble life. Spying on the dig, he can't believe what is discovered. But when strange and scary happenings start to consume the town, will he be able to make anyone understand the evil that has been unleashed? It's such a terrific premise, done with slow burn precision.
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Format: DVD
This is one of those rare foreign films in which you read the subtitles even if you aren't the type to like such films. While it isn't perfect I could almost label it a flawed masterpiece for its tantalizing concept.

What if Santa was real but rather than rewarding good kids he punished bad children? And what if he had been entombed in ice for a long time and his "elves" were in the process of helping him get out so he could bring terror back to the world. And what if the only good boy in the area knew about this legend and tried to stop it all but the adults ignore him?

Tension is eased up gradually not slammed in your face like clumsy American films I won't name. Things happen at a subtle level and that is one of the great strengths of this picture. Another strength is the setting and Finnish culture (people wearing their underwear out the snow, Santa Claus with horns per their legend of him, etc).

What are some of the weaknesses? The finale could have been better. It was somewhat good at best. Also, the flip flop between suspense style horror and dark comedy sometimes worked and other times fizzled or just didn't register. See spoilers below if you already watched this picture.

There's a fair amount of non sexual male nudity in this one so American prudes should steer clear.

This movie was on a limited budget (and is therefore graded on such a curve) and was based on two movie shorts by a Finnish company.

Thanks to the Skype of Cthulhu lads who told me about this picture.

STORY/PLOTTING/EDITING: B plus to A minus; CHARACTERS/DIALOGUE: B plus; HORROR TENSION LEVEL: B plus to A minus; SOUND/MUSIC: B; CINEMATOGRAPHY: B to B plus; OVERALL GRADE: B plus; WHEN WATCHED: end of December 2012 (streamed) (watched twice).
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Format: Amazon Video
Looking for something off the beaten path this Christmas season? The Finnish oddity "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale" might just be the cure for your holiday blues. Part fantasy, part horror, part black humor--this delightful film manages to adhere to traditional Christmas movie conventions while upending them at the same time. It's an unusually deft balance that makes this both hard edged and heartfelt. While not a perfect movie--once the main action begins, things fall rather too conveniently into place--it is distinguished by its brilliantly bold concept. And despite minor reservations, I have to award "Rare Exports" my respect for its unorthodox story line and wickedly acerbic sense of humor. Destined for cult movie status, I have no doubt that this film will perplex some viewers. But for adventurous movie lovers, I can't think of a better antidote to typical holiday fare.

Set in north Finland, the reindeer population is found dead by local herders . Maybe it has something to do with an American work crew excavating a nearby mountain. There is a disturbing legend about Santa in these parts. It seems that the jolly old fellow wasn't so jovial, but instead was quite evil. He was killed and buried in these hills according to lore and it seems that the Americans might be looking for the genuine Santa Claus. As with any good Christmas story, the protagonist is a spirited boy with a hard scrabble life. Spying on the dig, he can't believe what is discovered. But when strange and scary happenings start to consume the town, will he be able to make anyone understand the evil that has been unleashed? It's such a terrific premise, done with slow burn precision. As opposed to an all out assault on your senses, this sly film methodically ratchets up the creepiness and the macabre humor.
Read more ›
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