Rare Exports - Online Review

'the whole thing has a fairy tale glow, even whilst axes are being thrown through heads'

Piece of marketing genius or distribution nightmare, it has taken a while (almost a year exactly in fact) for Rare Exports to gain a UK home market release. If ever a film was going to benefit from being delayed that long though then this is it; Rare Exports (subtitled A Christmas Tale) is a dark Christmas fantasy from Finland featuring murderous elves, a twisted take on Santa Claus and a few nice segments of dark humour to warm the cockles on a cold winter night.

All of it is co-ordinated rather well by writer/director Jalmari Helander who frames the story through the eyes of youngster Piiparinen (Rauno Juvonen), giving the whole thing a fairy tale glow, even whilst axes are being thrown through heads and other youngsters are being turned into scary wooden-looking dolls. There's levity behind the horror that makes the film a success as a Christmas story and as something horror aficionados might take an interest in.

If there's a problem then it's with the end. Primarily the whole thing goes a little South into a messy action spectacular and then even further South into a fumbled attempt to explain the title. There's an argument that the latter of the two doesn't even really make sense. Then again, it is a film about Santa Claus (and did we mention the murderous elves?) so a little bit of dramatic licence might be granted by some, whilst others will undoubtedly remain perplexed.

Either way, there's some good work here from everything preceding the final third with only the English-speaking actors looking out of place. The nice riffs on Christmas lore (being nice, being punished, Santa's sack, etc.) are great and the locations Christmassy enough to fall in love with, despite all the surrounding kerfuffle. Charming and deadly in equal measure.

Rare Exports was playing on Lovefilm's Watch Online service for users with an appropriate subscription.

Look further...

'if John Carpenter ever goes festive and makes a holiday special of The Thing, it might end up looking something like Rare Exports' - RossvRoss


  1. I was disappointed that Uber Santa didn't get unleashed. Too expensive maybe?

  2. That's a good point and yes, I'm sure you're right as to the reason. Then again, that end was pretty OTT as it was. Uber Santa = Godzilla?