From our friends at Anythinghorror.net for your iRATEfilms viewing pleasure.
I literally just got home from the Alamo Drafthouse where I saw RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE.Â My â€śBest of 2010â€ť list just got one more film added to it.Â I canâ€™t remember when Iâ€™ve had so much fun in a movie theater.Â RARE EXPORTS is hugely entertaining with great dialogue, great acting, beautiful scenery (it was filmed in Finland), and a great story.Â But like most films this one isnâ€™t perfect.Â In fact it has two main downfalls which Iâ€™ll get to in a second.
Itâ€™s December 1st; two young friends Pietari (Onni Tommila) and Juuso (Ilmari Jarvenpaa) are spying on a group of American excavators on top of the Korvatunturi mountain.Â The expeditionâ€™s leader Riley (Per Christian Ellefsen) is telling the others that what theyâ€™re standing on isnâ€™t actually a mountain but the worldâ€™s largest burial mound.Â He then gives the order to start digging and blasting down into the mountain.Â They have, Riley tells them, 24 days to dig up what it took centuries to bury.Â As the boys run down the mountain back to their snow mobiles they look up and see a huge explosion at the top of the mountain.Â Juuso thinks nothing of the Americans or the bombs going off, but Pietari seems very worried about what the Americans are doing up there.Â That night Pietari hits the books and starts delving into who the true Santa Claus is â€¦ not the made up â€śCoca Cola Santa.â€ťÂ We then skip ahead to the day before Xmas and it seems the Americans have found what they were looking for.
Wait till you see what Pietari & his dad trapped!!
Oh yes folks â€¦ this is most definitely an Xmas horror film that will no doubt gather a following and hit cult status.Â I just saw it and already its made itâ€™s way onto my â€śMust See Holiday Horrorâ€™sâ€ť list.Â But this film isnâ€™t just a gimmick; it has the meat to back it up.Â Right away you notice that Onni Tommila (Pietari) is a strong little actor.Â Pietari lives alone with his father Rauno (Jorma Tommila) in a very modest house.Â Their relationship is a little strained since his mother died.Â Pietari also isnâ€™t the exact son Rauno wanted.Â Pietari (whoâ€™s about 10 years old) is a skinny little thing that canâ€™t stand to be around dead animals.Â But he has a wisdom and maturity well beyond his age, and Onni plays the character perfectly.Â Rauno does love his son but he canâ€™t seem to connect with him and seems to only want him to â€śbe a man.â€ť
Would YOU wanna sit on this Santa’s lap??
Rauno is a hunter and trapper and depends on the big reindeer hunt every year to bring in a big chunk of income.Â Well this year when Rauno and the other hunters gather together to round up the reindeer only two appear.Â Confused, the group then goes looking for the other animals only to find hundreds of them slaughtered in a snowy field half eaten.Â Blaming the Americans and all the explosions firing up the local wolf population, the guys travel up to the dig site to confront the Americans.Â The only things they find there are an empty camp and a huge, very deep hole.Â We get the typical dynamic of the young boy knowing exactly whatâ€™s going on but the adults ignoring him because heâ€™s just a kid.Â You can see how he tries again and again to get his fatherâ€™s approval (even to the point of being willing to sacrifice himself in the final reel).Â Yes this is a â€ścoming of ageâ€ť story that is actually quite good.Â It never gets preachy or dominates the story, yet itâ€™s an important part of it
The guys are just trying to protect their investment!!
As Xmas day comes Pietari realizes that all the children in the small town have disappeared (only to be replaced in their beds by a creepy looking doll) and one of Raunoâ€™s traps captured someone/thing very odd.Â Impaled on some wooden stakes is an old, frail-looking man.Â They think heâ€™s dead, but once the old timer gets a whiff of either Pietair or gingerbread, he seems to come alive.Â Pietari knows that theyâ€™ve caught the real Santa Claus.
Thereâ€™s a whole lot to like here.Â The pacing is fast, the dialogue is quick and witty, and thereâ€™s a twist that I didnâ€™t see coming.Â Iâ€™m not going to divulge the twist, but itâ€™s a good one.Â This movie also finds a really nice balance with the humor and the horror.Â Thereâ€™s not too many scares here thatâ€™s gonna make you jump in your seat, but just wait until they capture â€śSanta;â€ť he is one creepy bastard.Â This is not your fat, jolly Old Saint Nick.Â This Santa is dirty, skinny, has a bat-shit crazy look in his eye, and has a big old set of sharp teeth in his head (which he uses to rip the ear off of one character).Â And unfortunately that torn off ear is just about the only gore we get in the film (and the ear is torn off off screen).
Even though he’s caged, I wouldn’t get too close to this Santa!!
Yeah people; Iâ€™m sorry to report that besides the ear scene and a scene where Rauno is butchering a whole pig, RARE EXPORTS is bloodless.Â Not a drop.Â But ya know, I found myself completely entertained and not even missing the gore (yeah I know â€¦ weird, eh??).Â Like I said, this film is definitely going for more of a comedy-horror balance and writer-director Jalmari Helander achieves his goal.Â The plot is dealing with the original, deadly Santa but it never lapses into the realm of being dumb.Â They achieve this by never taking the material too seriously or presenting it like a silly comedy.Â Itâ€™s a really well-written, balanced script.
The only safe Santa is an incapacitated Santa!!
Besides having no gore, the other really huge mistake Helander makes is never showing the audience what Santa REALLY looks like.Â I canâ€™t give away too much about this point but youâ€™ll totally understand what Iâ€™m talking about after you see RARE EXPORTS.Â I donâ€™t wanna give anything away, but you definitely feel cheated after the movie is over.Â But the strong acting, great dialogue, well placed humor, and clever plot will have you loving this film as one of the best of the â€śHoliday Horrorsâ€ť.Â Youâ€™ll feel a nice glow inside as Pietari finally steps up and becomes a man.Â The way he and his dad finally connect may not be your typical â€śholiday family momentâ€ť but youâ€™re gonna love it regardless.Â RARE EXPORTâ€™s lack of gore prevents this from being a near perfect film, but I bet youâ€™re gonna add this flick to your yearly Xmas Holiday viewing list.Â I know I did!!Â Donâ€™t miss this one.