Rare Exports offers a fresh new and original spin to the old Santa Claus.
Rare Exports is a Finnish fantasy horror comedy that brings a fresh new take on the old classical tale about Santa Claus and turns it into a fun exciting Christmas adventure to defeat the evil Santa Claus. It’s a great epic story about a young boy who saves Christmas and the world, after he learns the truth about the real Santa. It’s therefore an endearing tale full of heartwarming moments, a lot of courage and smart thinking that eventually brings alive that true Christmas spirit. Without gore and full on horror vibes, Rare Exports focuses on the whimsical humor, adventure and the child-perspective and makes for a great horror family watch.
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When in Finland near mountain Korvatunturi during an excavation, an ancient burial ground is discovered, it has big consequences. Young Pietari is watching all of this and goes on a search of his own when all their reindeer are attacked and killed. He finds out that Santa isn’t the old likable man, but an evil being out to punish children. And he is certain that something is set loose due to the excavation. Pietari tries to convince his father and the others of the village, but of course no-one believes him, until they catch a strange old man that does resemble Santa Claus. A very dangerous Christmas is about to begin.
Why you should watch it
Little hero of this great Christmas horror comedy adventure is Pietari. He might be small and little and has a difficult bond with his distant father Rauno, after the loss of Pietari’s mother, but this danger is also a great opportunity to find each other. Pietari is the heart of the film and to show how little he still is, he carries with him his teddybear Vuppe. But Pietari is smart and brave and he wraps himself up in battle gear to defend his family.
His research about the real Santa is promise for a lot of fun and when also his father and his father’s friends Piiparinen and Aimo also get involved and even catch an old man, then it really lifts off into a great fantasy adventure, with a great original spin on Santa Claus. But the old naked men roaming the village are a wonderful creation too that is used in an optimal way, throughout the whole film even right until the end.
But the perspective of Pietari stays the most important, creating a child’s point of view that is both endearing as brave and open-minded. Also he’a afraid he’s been a bad boy and shall be taken by the evil Santa just like all the other kids who already have disappeared. On the other side, there’s the adult’s perspective who are mainly concerned about the loss of their reindeer and want a compensation by the company who did the excavation. And on top of that Rauno, Piiparinen and Aimo come up with a brilliant plan, stirring things up a bit. But the biggest and most inventive and brave plan is that of Pietari himself. It’s a solution to all their problems only a kid can come up with.
Rare Exports is therefore a great example of the Christmas spirit in more than one way, while it’s also heroic and brings Pietari closer to his father to celebrate a happy Christmas again.
The cinematography delivers some beautiful shots of Finland, but also focuses on the epic and triumphant scenes. The old men, Santa’s little helpers, are played by just old men with no gimmicks, but the whole idea all by itself does the trick to make it a very unusual Christmas horror story. And finally the big bad Man himself isn’t fully shown but his size alone and his horns sticking out of the block of ice are creating all the impressive effects you need.
It’s a great film about a little boy, the bond with his father and the illusion of Santa being smashed but he gained more than just the idea of Christmas. Notable is that there’s no woman to be seen in this film. It stars all men, young, old, sons and fathers and of course the little helpers and Santa himself. Despite the missing female touch, it’s a very moving film that knows how to stir up some wonderful emotions.
My favorite part
I really liked the idea of Santa’s little helpers and how they eventually put them to use. That was a great and original ending that was just the cherry on the pie. But Pietari will absolutely steal your heart. He’s so endearing and his outfit to go to combat is just wonderfully done and exactly what a child would think of to do. This is a fine gem that brings the Christmas spirit to life with adventurous fun and dark humor.
Fun factor: ★★★★☆
Epic factor: ★★★★☆
Originality factor: ★★★★★
Entertainment factor: ★★★★★
Cast and crew
Rare Exports is directed and written by Jalmari Helander and cowritten by Juuso Helander. It stars Onni Tommila (Pietari Kontio), Jorma Tommila (Rauno Kontio), Rauno Juvonen (Piiparinen), Tommi Korpeal (Aimo) and Ilmari Järvenpää (Juuso).
Duration: 84 minutes. Music: Juri Seppä, Mika Seppä. Cinematography: Mika Orasmaa. Edited by: Kinno Taavila. Produced by: Agnès B., François-Xavier Frantz, Petri Jokiranta, Knut Skoglund. Production companies: Cinet, Pomor Film, Davaj Film. Distributed by: Kinology.