Saturday, December 24, 2011

DVD Review: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

I don't know if all of you know this, but I see a lot of movies. So it takes lot of movies to show me something completely new. That said, a horror film where the main monster/killer is an underfed naked man who is taken to be Santa Claus is something I haven't seen before.

Quickly: the film is about a bunch of villagers on the border between Finland and Russia. Just across the border, an American team is digging up a mountain in search of Santa Claus who was trapped there hundreds of years earlier. One of the kids cuts a hole in the fence and finds notes that indicate that Santa is actually something of a demon, who punishes bad children. Weeks later, Christmas is near and odd things are happening. Kids and heaters are disappearing and a weird pale man has been seen wandering around the village...

Okay so it's a unique hook, but that isn't all a movie needs. Fortunately the movie has all the pieces in place to be a good horror flick. It's exceptionally well paced and some good acting, especially from the young kid who has the lead. It also has a tiny undercurrent of parody that really gives it an extra edge. It was directed by a Finnish director Jalmari Helander, and his knowledge of the culture of the Arctic helps give the film an air of realism that helps with the tension.

It's not completely perfect film. It's ambitions are heavily hamstrung by it's low budget and there's some awkward characterization near the beginning. But it's a unique and legitimately scary horror film, two characteristics a lot of horror films are lacking these days. So if you want to be different and watch a horror film on Christmas, or just feel in the mood for a new horror film, definitely give this one a look.

Elessar is a 21 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he thinks this has to be the second scariest Christmas movie. After The Magic Christmas Tree.

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