Pietari(Onni Tommila) and his friend Juuso(Ilmari Jarvenpaa) are investigating Mount Korvatunturi near their home in Lapland, Finland. Rumors around town are that the British research team sent to the mountain are doing more than just drilling for core samples. Pietari is still young and believes that Joulupukki, an ancient version of Santa Claus, still resides within Korvatunturi. After further research he also believes that Joulupukki has a dark side. A dark side that involves devouring naughty children whole.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a horror/comedy directed by Jalmari Helander. Most holiday horror crossovers tend to fail in either delivering scares or traditional holiday movie fun. Rare Exports is an exception. From the beginning Rare Exports delivers a large amount of Christmas magic. We get an excellent Christmas soundtrack, a set design filled with Christmas references, and cinematography that perfectly captures the cold and snowy landscapes. If you’re worried about the horror, don’t be. We’re soon introduced to a creepy elderly man(Peeter Jakobi) and the scares only continue to heighten.
Rare Exports was such an enjoyable film that it’s hard to find criticism. A scene towards the end, involving a cargo net and a helicopter, may raise an eyebrow. The special effects are questionable, which in turn affects the believability. By that time, however, Rare Exports has established its universe and it’s one that requires the viewer to alter their reality. If you haven’t done this before the helicopter scene, than this movie is probably not for you. The “stumbling onto some old literature in able to discover the truth” trope is also used but still fits into the plot and style of the film nicely.
Despite the 90’s special effects and its use of tropes, Rare Exports still delivers. Overall, the achievements far out-way the criticisms. Seeing a disturbing, bloody horror scene set to Christmas music is a unique experience. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good Christmas tale but also enjoys horror of all genres. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is streaming on Shudder.
I give Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale 6 out of 6 reels.
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