2010, Movies

Rare Exports (2010, Jalmari Helander)

This is a strange, but certainly unique Christmas “horror” film. I use the term horror loosely because there isn’t a lot of horror in it by our standards, it’s more of a Christmas fantasy film.

SPOILERS

So I think the film needs to be given credit for its relative uniqueness. It bares some resemblance to The Krampus in terms of the nature of the Santa demon and what he does, but only a passing resemblance. And everything else around it, including the setting among the Sami in Finland, feels fresh. (And, of course, this movie was first so it’s quite possible the filmmakers who made The Krampus saw this and came up with it.)

The film mostly works pretty well in terms of building a sense of mystery, prior to our first glimpse of what we think is Santa, and this despite the clear lack of a budget. There’s a strong sense of place – aside from the amount of daylight, perhaps – and there’s an emphasis on character development, which is relatively rare in Christmas “horror” films. There’s also the odd joke.

Things go off the rails a bit when they decide to sell “Santa” to the British guy. The idea that they found something other than Santa, is good, but once the kid’s plan is in motion things get pretty silly. There’s a lot of poor CGI and a very silly “chase” which defies the laws of physics.

And then, after our heroes win, there is the bizarre denouement, which gives the film its name. It makes absolutely no sense and mostly feels like a joke that doesn’t land. It kind of feels like the film is a lead up to this not very good gag. And if you think of it like that, it’s pretty disappointing.

However, if you just sort of dismiss the denouement, the rest of the film is a reasonably entertaining and very unique Christmas film, somewhere on the horror-fantasy spectrum, which is worth watching, especially if you’re looking for something different from your typical Christmas horror film.

But that denouement makes no sense.

6/10

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