RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE (2010) Reviews and overview

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Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a 2010 Finnish fantasy horror film directed by Jalmari Helander (Sisu) about people living near the Korvatunturi mountain who discover the secret behind Santa Claus. The film is based on a 2003 short film “Rare Exports Inc.” by Jalmari and Juuso Helander.

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A scientist has ordered a team of workers to dig open what he calls “the largest burial mound in the world”. An explosive used by the team uncovers what is referred to as a “sacred grave”. However, the occupant of the grave is still alive.

Soon, the reindeer important to the local people are mysteriously killed, and children and supplies begin to disappear from the town. It emerges that the occupant is the source of the original Santa Claus myth; a supernatural being who, rather than rewarding good children, punishes the naughty.

One family, however, manages to catch the culprit in a trap and plans to sell it to the scientist to cover the losses caused by his excavation.

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Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a truly original moviegoing experience. I shrug my shoulders at this point in the review—seeing it is the only way to understand my mixed emotions about it. While I don’t think it’s even close to being a perfect movie, I do think seeing Rare Exports is well worth your time.” DVD Verdict

“This offers very black humour and a strange mix of revisionist mythology, gruesome horror and authentic Christmas spirit. It has a gritty, outdoorsy feel appropriate to an exploration of the brutal side of a harsh, all-male life in an extreme climate, where an ancient way of life is threatened by changing attitudes — these could be seal-clubbers or whalers.” Empire

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“Incorporating ancient mythology into a modern setting is far from a new idea, but the Helander brothers weave everything together exceptionally well. Dialog is spot on, props are convincing, and the characters excel at making you believe that they believe. The movie is funny, charming, and absolutely one of my favorite Christmas movies of all time.” The Scariest Things

“Even at 80 minutes, Real Exports is a tad thin. Yet as in a dinner scene that finds Pietari indirectly asking for a sign of his father’s love, and Rauno’s eyes welling with tears as he fails to open up to the boy, Helander proves adept at painting in sharp, clean strokes, and throughout, his film preserves its core humanism in large part thanks to a script that refuses to reduce its players to caricatured objects of ridicule.” Slant

“This movie has been labeled as horror film, but I just don’t see it. None of these spooky Santa shenanigans are remotely scary. I guess if seeing a hundred or so naked Santas running around in the snow is the sort of thing that gives you the willies; then you may enjoy it.” The Video Vacuum

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