A black comedy from Finland about Santa Clause is a seemingly bizarre concept. And the result is really bizarre movie. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is this, and it is awesome! Set the cold, cold Korvantunturi Mountains in northern Finland scientists are setting off explosions on a mountain. Soon enough the local inhabitants starts noticing weird stuff going down, livestock is massacred, children go missing….ears get bitten off!. This reminds one small boy of the real legend of Santa Claus, not the ‘Coca-Cola’ version. When the boy’s father accidentally captures the real Santa in a baited trap, the real version of Christmas reveals its real darkness.
Rare Exports is by far one of the weirdest mainstream films of recent times. A wonderfully original idea, that fuses a unique sense of comedy with action and family drama in way that is largely unparalleled. There are nods to 80s adventure films like ‘The Goonies’ and ‘Poltergiest’, there is an air of young Spielberg at work making kids action films with a dark twist, but Rare Exports might take a little from these types of films and makes its own out of them. It can’t be easy to make a film that is laugh out loud funny and genuinely creepy and keep that balance without one eventually rendering the other void, but this film achieved it consistently. On leaving the cinema a woman from Finland (many native Fins attended and were very enthusiastically vocal throughout) asked me if I ‘got’ the Finnish humor. I think I did, but what I think I ‘got’ most was discovering that this movie was not pandering to any Hollywood type of Christmas, or more to the point what a comedy, action, horror movie should be. Rare Exports will hopefully usher in more unique mainstream movies from other cultures that will as equally and as boldly and as entertainingly showcase themselves.