Posted on 2/20/11 03:53 PM
The movie is rather unconventional Christmas tale, both the plot and the atmosphere are VERY different from any others pictures about Santa Claus and other Christmas stuff. The leading idea is that Santa Claus is not an amiable person giving presents to kids but a demonic creature which find pleasure in torturing and eating young children. It sounds a bit dreadful and odd isn't it? Nevertheless, the movie itself is surprisingly fresh and well-executed fantasy tale being a great alternative to melodramatic and sometimes dull family movies concerning Christmas and Santa Claus.
According to Wikipedia, the whole story started in 2003 when the Finnish commercial production company Woodpecker Film produced a short movie dubbed "Rare Exports Inc". The story was about a team of three excellent hunter composed of marker, sniper and tracker, who travelled through Finnish wilderness seeking wild Father Christmas in order to capture this creature. It was published on Internet and rapidly gained popularity, which encourage Jalmari Helander (who was the director) to created second short movie. Due to its great popularity among the audience he finally decided to direct a full movie about savage Santa Claus.
The plot focuses on a group of reindeer herders living in remote location in Finland. Their preparations for Christmas are interrupted by enigmatic excavation on the nearby mountain, which are being proceeded by a team of scientist. The rationale for such activity is to dig opens a huge sacred grave. Shortly after opening the tomb strange thing starts to happen - all reindeers belong to the herders are slaughter, and some kids living in the town vanish. Pietari, who is a son of the reindeers owner shortly after reading an old book about local legends realize what is going on but nobody believe in his explanations...
As I mentioned before this movie is well-executed. It was shot in Lapland and the scenery is picturesque. Windy mountains and gloomy forest create creepy atmosphere so despite its rather comedic attitude the movie is sometimes similar to "The Thing" or other serious horrors.
The story is based on a crazy but not ridiculous idea; everything what happens during the movie is coherent and there are no significant plot holes. All actors give decent performances though acting isn't extraordinary all characters are more or less convincing and no one behave as wooden figure unable to express any feelings, which is common in such movies. With no doubt the most recognizable character is witty and sensible kid, Pietari who steal the show in the second half of the movie.
To conclude the movie is a positive surprise, in spite of being a comedy it's not laughable as many stupid parodies and provides a good entertainment. However, I must warn you that Rare Exports could destroy potentially all positive recollections about Santa Claus.