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Rare Exports : The Finnish Christmas Horror you never knew you needed and you’re still not sure you do

4 mins read

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Rating – 15

If the title concerns or confuses you don’t worry I’m still attempting to process everything that happened in the 82 minutes. Meet Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, the deadpan comedy mixed with Christmas horror.

When a young boy named Piertari (Onni Tommila) believes a secret mountain drilling project has uncovered dead Santa, he begins to research the origins of Santa with concerning results. It turns out Santa is in fact a demonic child eating monster with terrifying slave like elves sent out to steal children.

When Piertrari is the only child not stolen from his village he sets out with his father (Jorma Tommilac) to have the best Christmas ever and to kill Santa. 

I don’t want to spoil the film but there is so much to talk about. The main reason my personal viewing of the film was so traumatising was that my father who picked it (Knowing what it was) introduced it as a scandinavian christmas comedy. Yes there are many very funny moments but it’s unclear whether half of these were intentional or not, one particular scene being when the son tried having a heartfelt conversation with his father about his fears but the father is quite graphically cutting up a pig in his abattoir.

Moments like this are what make the film and you can’t help but laugh at Piertari an 8 year old boy walking around with a rifle for half the movie nor the slighting haunting wooden dolls that crop up in random places. My personal highlight was when one of Santa’s elves bit someone’s ear off because he wouldn’t give him any gingerbread. 

This film is not perfect by any stretch. The flow of the storyline is flawed with side plots going missing (most notably the evil Russians that become irrelevant after five minutes) and you struggle to connect with the characters due to their underdevelopment.

I want to be able to comment on the dialogue but honestly how can you fault the line “Merry Christmas and a bloody good new year” while driving away from an explosion on a snowmobile. The ending is wild and makes next to no sense but when you finally reach it you just accept it as you never know what this film is going to throw at you next. 

Look, you’re not watching it for its accolades or awards you’re watching it because Christmas horror is a genre that needs to be explored more. It brings a new meaning to Christmas cozy and it fits quite well. Snuggling up on the sofa with a fire going, with it cold and dark outside, laughing through the fear of Santa’s elves it felt just as Christmassy as watching the Polar Express. So recommend this to your friends, watch it at Christmas, just take it with a pinch of salt.

Featured photo credit – Karl Fisher

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