Christmas Flicks: Rare Exports

Just in time for Christmas, here's Michelle's review of Rare Exports

Rare Exports is a breath of fresh air in the cloying glut of saccharine Christmas movies popular this time of year. It’s one of the few films to offer a darker take on the Santa Claus mythology and it’s quite clever and imaginative. Directed by Jalmari Helander, Rare Exports takes place in Finland, which is the perfect sterile and snowy atmosphere for the whimsical nature of the film. As such, most of the movie is in Finnish with subtitles but there are periods where characters speak English as well.

Most of the movie centers on a family who is in the business of raising reindeer with a precocious little boy being the main protagonist. When reindeer and eventually children begin to go missing, the boy discovers the sinister (and rather gruesome) past of Santa Claus and has to stop him from doing further harm. One of the strongest points of the film is the atmosphere and the cinematography. Everything has a mystical quality to it and I would classify it as more of a fantasy-horror hybrid than straight horror. Most of the gore is implied rather than shown but it still has some pretty scary moments. There is a lot of dark humor thrown in as well which was a pleasant surprise. Rare Exports is a methodical film and the middle portion is quite slow. I do think it could have benefited from having some of the scenes trimmed down a bit as there isn’t a whole lot of exposition going on until close to the end of the film.

If you are looking for a palate cleanser to get the sweet taste of Christmas out of your mouth, then Rare Exports is a treat. It’s an underrated gem and a quirky take on the cliché Santa Claus we all know and love. Get a cold glass of egg nog (maybe add a little rum) and give it a try—just don’t be surprised if you end up on the Naughty List.

-Review by Michelle Kisner