"The Strangest Christmas Ever"
What You Need To Know:
RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE is a horror comedy from Finland that turns the Santa Claus legend upside down. The story follows a curious boy named Pietari. Pietari stumbles across a rare old book revealing that the legend of Santa Claus is actually more sinister than people are normally led to believe. In fact, he is a giant, horned monster who uses old elves as his helpers to kidnap naughty children around the world. The townsfolk buried this evil Santa and his elves under a mountain, but a new excavation has brought them back up. Only Pietari knows the true danger, but he still has to figure out how to get his father and his father’s friends to help save the day.
RARE EXPORTS is an audacious mix of adventure, horror comedy and heroics. The movie is shot in an impressive, atmospheric and surprisingly classy fashion. There is, however, brief foul language, strong scary violence, and the evil elves run around naked. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for this odd but striking movie – even for the teenage and young adults males who are the prime targets for this RARE EXPORTS.
(RoRo, Pa, P, B, L, VV, NNN, D, MM) Romantic worldview with slight pagan elements as the Santa Claus story is given a dark twist, depicting him as having really been a monster who kidnapped children rather than leaving presents for them, and young boy protagonist is on quest to keep this Santa buried under a mountain before he can strike again; five or six obscenities (including two “f” words) and two GD profanities; strong scary violence but often implied, with victims seen reacting to unseen forces and then found dead, victims being grabbed rapidly by unseen forces with only their helmets left behind, man killed with a pickaxe to the head, man’s ear bitten off, corpses of hundreds of slaughtered deer are left lying in the snow, men taunt and poke sticks at old man/elf who is one of the evil forces of Santa’s supporters; no sex; some brief long-shot images of evil naked elves, including rear nudity and somewhat obscured genitals; no alcohol; brief smoking; and, scary woodcut drawings of a demonic Santa creature with his captured children.
RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE is a truly unique film from Finland that turns the legend of Santa Claus upside-down in a scary non-graphic fashion, creating an adventure in the vein of something like THE GOONIES. It may be intersting to offbeat film aficionados.
Set amid a village in the stunning snowy, rural mountains of Finland, RARE EXPORTS follows a curious boy named Pietari (Onni Tommila). Pietari stumbles across a rare old book that reveals that the legend of Santa Claus is actually more sinister than people are normally led to believe. In fact, Santa is a giant, horned monster who uses old elves as his helpers in kidnapping children around the world, and punishing the naughty ones, rather than leaving them presents. Or at least, Santa and his minions used to kidnap children, until Finnish townspeople struck back decades ago and trapped the evil forces under the ice, building a mountain on top of them to keep them there.
Now, Western developers have come to the area to begin mining the mountain, attempting to blast a giant hole in it. And, the head of the mining operation knows exactly what he’s doing, wanting to prove to the world he has found Santa, even though he doesn’t realize that Santa is not just a jolly old soul buried below. Now that a gaping hole has been unleashed, hundreds of deer are found mysteriously slaughtered, and some of the townspeople – including children – are disappearing. Only Pietari knows the true danger of the situation, but he still has to figure out how to get his father and his father’s friends to help him save the day.
What happens next is an audacious mix of adventure, horror comedy and heroics, all of which is shot in an impressive, atmospheric and surprisingly classy fashion, with most violence and other objectionable moments implied offscreen. The performances are uniformly solid, especially young Onni Tommila as the heroic boy Pietari. Writer/director Jalmari Helander deserves credit for moving his unusual epic adventure along at a fast clip with inventive turns all along the way.
While RARE EXPORTS is a Christmas-themed film in relation to Santa Claus, it doesn’t acknowledge the true meaning of Christmas, while it alludes to some of the darker pagan legends surrounding Santa Claus mythology. It also contains brief strong foul language, strong scary violence, and the evil elves run around naked. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution. On its own highly unusual terms, however, RARE EXPORTS is a movie that will likely build a strong cult following in future years.