Finding a good Christmas horror is a very difficult task, finding a great Christmas horror is near impossible. However, they do exist. Very few & far between, you have to wade through a hefty amount of filth first. Often great Christmas horror films just sink under the murky scum to be forgotten.
Only in rare occasions do one of these films make such an impact that the word spreads & success comes with it. One such film is the 2010 Finnish fantasy horror, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale.
Written & directed by Jalmari Helander, the film is based on the 2003 short film Rare Exports Inc., and its 2005 sequel Rare Exports: The Official Safety Instructions.
Starring Tommi Korpela, Per Christian Ellefsen, Onni Tommila and Jorma Tommila. Rare Exports sees a research team uncovering an ancient burial mound deep within Korvatunturi in Lapland. Something has been buried for centuries down there, something evil that time has forgotten & romanticised.
Two young boys spy on the research team with one, Pietari, becoming convinced that Santa Claus is real but far more terrifying then he has been made out to be by the media. As Christmas nears, Pietari becomes convinced that Santa is coming to punish him for being naughty. His relationship with his father is strained, made worse as the local reindeer all end up dead & Pietari believes it is his fault.
A group of villagers, angry at the loss of the reindeer, go to the Korvatunturi drilling site to demand retribution. What they find though, is a deserted site & a massive pit. What did the researchers dig up?
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is one of the best Christmas horrors to be released ever. The story is thrilling, interesting & exciting. Twists & turns along the way keep you constantly on your toes & the excellent cast keep you invested. It’s a surprisingly smart take on Santa Claus & Christmas, one that doesn’t come across as a parody even though it has some well-placed humorous moments.
The black humour works so well because of the outstanding cast. The gritty & brutal environment is all in days work for these characters & they take everything in their stride. There isn’t an unlikable one in the entire bunch.
The movie nails its suspenseful tone & gives off the perfect vibe of dark fantasy mixed with horror. The cinematography is exemplary & the locations beautiful. If all of that wasn’t enough the film is lifted to even higher levels thanks to a fantastically memorable score.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale feels authentically Christmas avoiding a mean-spirited take that is often found in holiday-related horror. It’s not a scary or particularly violent film but has enough tense moments to keep you on edge.
This Christmas, this is the one to watch. You won’t be disappointed by a glorious & fantastical horror tale that adds a few more shadows to Christmas time.
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Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
The Final Score - 9/10