23 February 2019

Review: Rare Exports - A Christmas Tale (2010)


I know it's not Christmas but...

When an excavation team in the Korvatunturi mountains uncover what is described as a "sacred grave" 486 metres underground they accidentally unleash one of Christmas' hidden secrets. When an entire herd of local reindeer are discovered and the local children begin to disappear it soon becomes apparent that the grave's former occupant is alive and well and resuming his traditional role as a punisher of naughty children.

Rare Exports - A Christmas Tale is not your average festive tale - far from it. Drawing on the Alpine tradition of Krampus, a demon-like companion to St. Nicholas, the film explores an alternative imagining of Santa Claus to debunk the mythical 'Coca-Cola' version. Written and directed by Jalmari Helander this darkly comic Finnish film draws on his previous two shorts,  Rare Exports Inc. (20030 and The Official Rare Exports Inc. Safety Instructions (2005), to produce an entertaining and offbeat slice of festive cinema.

Although it flags towards the end with an ending that is a bit of an anticlimax after the brilliant first hour, the film still stands head and shoulders over most seasonal Hollywood offerings. It certainly lives up to the  comparisons that have been made to a number of classics such as Joe Dante's Gremlins (1984).
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