Sunday, December 6, 2015

#1,938. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)


Directed By: Jalmari Helander

Starring: Jorma Tommila, Peeter Jakobi, Onni Tommila




Tag line: "This Christmas everyone will believe in Santa Claus"

Trivia: This movie is based on a short film, made by its director in 2003






You Better watch out… 
You better not cry… 
You better not pout… 
I’m telling you why… 
Santa Claus is coming to town

Watch Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, a Fantasy / horror film directed by Jalmari Helander, and the above lyrics to the classic holiday tune "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" will sound more sinister than they ever have before.

The trouble begins when a team of American excavators, led by a millionaire named Riley (Per Christian Ellefsen), drills into a snow-covered mountain located somewhere in Finland (a place that, according to Ryan, is actually the world’s largest burial mound, the final resting place of a legendary figure). As their work continues, the locals in the town below, many of whom make their living off of the area’s reindeer population, find themselves facing a long, hard winter when this year's entire herd is systematically wiped out. Most people, including Rauno (Jorma Tommila) and Aimo (Tommi Korpela), think the American crew is to blame for this misfortune (they're convinced the excavation drove a pack of hungry wolves down from the mountain), but Rauno’s son Pietari (Onni Tommila) believes that the real culprit is none other than Santa Claus himself!

See, Pietari knows that Santa isn't the sweet, good-natured old man you see in the movies. In fact, the real Santa is downright evil, kidnapping bad little boys and girls on Christmas Eve and dragging them off to be "punished". Somehow, this real-life Saint Nicholas, which, centuries earlier, had been lured into the ice and buried under an enormous mountain of earth, has returned, and is continuing his diabolical "tradition". While his father and the others try to get the Americans to pay compensation for the damages, Pietari is busy reading up on Santa Claus, hoping to find something that might help them defeat this most unusual foe.

Released in 2010, Rare Exports puts a whole new spin on the Santa / Christmas mythos, weaving a tale that’s positively riveting. We realize early on, when Rauno and his neighbors stumble upon the bloody remains of hundreds of reindeer, that all is not as it seems (as the adults are busy blaming wolves, Pietari finds a very human footprint amidst the carnage, which, for him, is proof enough that the killer was none other than Jolly St. Nick). As you might expect, nobody listens to poor Pietari, and not even the discovery of a naked elderly man with a long white beard, who miraculously survives a fall into a deadly wolf trap, can convince the others that Santa is 1. Real, or 2. A nasty force to be reckoned with. In a nice twist, young Pietari is not only the smartest character in this film (he’s the only one who figures out what’s really happening), he’s also the bravest, as he proves in the movie’s electrifying (though occasionally over-the-top) finale, a showdown so crazy you’ll have to see it to believe it.

Darkly funny and occasionally frightening, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is good enough to become a regular fixture on your yearly Holiday viewing schedule.







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