Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Film, Action and adventure
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Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
When you think about it, the idea of an overweight, bearded Laplander sneaking into the bedrooms of sleeping kids sounds like a horror movie set-up already. But, for his debut feature, writer-director Jalmari Helander has gone back to the source of Santa Claus and the ancient Finnish folk tales which depicted him as a bony-fingered ghoul coming to punish helpless children on cold winter nights.

In a remote Nordic mountain community, the locals, including ten-year-old Pietari (Onni Tommila), are intrigued by a mysterious mining operation which has sprung up on the nearby slopes. But when kids start to go missing – and a mysterious white-bearded figure is glimpsed lurking in the trees – Pietari soon figures out who the culprit is and enlists the aid of his reindeer-hunting father (Jorma Tommila) to lay a cunning trap.

Essentially a reimagining of John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’, but with Kurt Russell replaced by a scared kid and the shape-shifting starbeast by a soul-sucking Santa, ‘Rare Exports’ is an enormously entertaining and unpredictable Yuletide romp packed with sly wit, solid scares and naked geriatrics. At only 82 minutes, it is slight, with a superb set-up that never fully pays off. But the acting is strong (pairing a real-life father and son in the lead roles is a masterstroke), the low-rent special effects are inventive and judiciously employed and the pace never flags. A true Christmas treat for naughty children of all ages.

By: Tom Huddleston

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Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday December 3 2010
Duration: 82 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jalmari Helander
Screenwriter: Jalmari Helander
Cast: Per Christian Ellefsen
Tommi Korpela
Jorma Tommila
Jonathan Hutchings