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Movie Review: Rare Exports (2010)

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Who wants a Christmas horror movie? Fuck Yeah! That was my first response. Who doesn't want to see some sadomasochist Santa screwing things up for the holidays. I love holiday horror films! Who doesn’t? I may like them a little more than I should but oh well. Think about some of the greats like Black Christmas, Silent Night, Deadly Night. Did that get you excited for holiday horror? These movies create a great setting to themselves. They are perfect to view during that one special time of year. Can Rare Exports fall in line with these?

This Finnish film tells the story of a Father and Son who live on an isolated farm town. The Rauno is dealing with the loss of his wife which he is clearly not over. Adjusting to life with Pietari has not been easy for him. They spend a little too much time on pointing this out to you in my opinion. Nearby some people are digging at an excavation site and to make a long story short they find Santa but he is not so merry. The Pietari and his friend Jusso have been spying on the site and somehow know that Santa is buried there beforehand. Pietari watches and night for Santa vigilantly. At one point he stands watch with his gun only to fall asleep. When he wakes up he sees footprints on the roof. This is a great sequence in the movie. His expressions are similar to a kid on Christmas morning. Except he is panic stricken instead of overjoyed. His panic carries over as he is trying to explain to his dad about what has happened. Rauno of course is disinterested to Pietari’s claims and carries on with his slaughtering of a pig.

The best part of this movie is Santa himself. I was not really sure what the Finnish filmmaker would do to my American representation of Mr. Claus. He is very pale and gaunt in appearance for a typical Santa. His eyes have a weird glimmer to them that is almost reptilian. Another great scene is during a standoff between Santa and Rauno and his friends that have chosen to keep him captive. This is where you get a great look at this character. Roaming back and forth covered in blood and no clothing. He looks defeated but it seems he is up to something as well. You can’t really tell if this character is good or bad leaving you uncertain on what he might be doing or thinking. It really gave me the creeps and made me really like this Santa.

Now there are a couple of points where the story takes a turn toward the end. This helps and hurts the film at the same time. I like how it turned initially and it got me more interested in the story. It is a bit of a slow starter so I was waiting for them to give me something. But then it went to me asking myself questions. How did they know to do that? Why are they doing that? Did I miss something? All of this could be fixed by multiple viewings but that will have to wait. The boy takes control of the events and that is another point of the story I like to a certain extent as well. We get a great 360 degree camera shot around the boy as we see snow slowly falling around him as he stares in awe. It almost turns into a childhood fantasy film as the boys actions carry on to the end of the film.

Rare Exports is a pretty fun watch even though I was a little confused with the story and its plot holes. Its unique story is what keeps you interested from beginning to end. It has some funny moments here and there but humor is not the point the director was trying to make. If he did it would have ruined the setting and overall tone of the movie. Some may say it rips off Carpenter’s “The Thing”. I couldn’t disagree with that it does share the same framework as The Thing. Rare Exports is not an instant classic but could prove to be one over time for me.

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Updated 11-17-2011 at 07:20 AM by Butcher

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  1. dawnkatdead's Avatar
    Nice write up Xander. This most of been a difficult one since you didn't want to give anything away. The whole movie looks very well shot (at least from what I saw on the trailers, and shorts). Did you watch any of the shorts that they put out? I wonder if that might help answer your questions? Definatley going to be ordering this on Friday. Both my husband and I have been waiting for quite awhile to see this movie.
  2. Xander_Kane's Avatar
    There is a specific scene where there is some walkie talkie conversations going on and I might have missed a thing or two from there. I have not watched the shorts yet but i intend to do so.