Rare Exports (2010)

Christmas Day has always been the perfect threat used by parents the world over when they want their cute, sticky fingered, little spawn to toe the line. ‘’Santa is watching,’’ they scold. ‘’If you’re naughty, you wont get any Christmas presents!’’

Of course, in my part of the world, naughty kids would be warned that they’d only be left coal in their stocking (Which as a fossil fuel is a valuable commodity these days, so I guess it aint all bad ..), but speaking as an extremely badly behaved child, who always had a stocking chocked full of toys (and bizarrely an apple and an orange for some reason …), I didn’t worry myself too much about the fact my name would be underlined on the naughty list, if there was such a thing.

Imagine if the fat, bearded, reverse burglar was real though? He’d be pretty high in demand from a media stand point at the very least. Talk shows, magazine interviews, maybe even a short lived reality show that would ultimately ruin his shining reputation …

Something to think about anyway.

Pietari is a young boy who has a problem. Santa has been found frozen in a mountain by miners (stay with me), and as he thaws out in his father’s barn, Daddy and his friends are trying to blackmail their way into some serious Euros by holding him to ransom. While all this is going on though, Pietari has noticed that all of his friends have been kidnapped and replaced with creepy wooden dolls. They were naughty. And it turns out Santa is big on punishment, along with his not so little helpers.

Rare Exports is a charming little Finnish film. While admittedly, it’s more fantasy than horror, there are some definite scares in the mix that make this a perfect addition to any Yuletide creepfest. Original and dark, with intelligent scripting, and some exceptional acting for such a low budget effort, makes this one of the best foreign language films I’ve seen in quite a while.

Not perfect, not a bloodbath, but a refreshing change from the usual formulaic fright fest.

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