Friday, January 10, 2014

Review: Rare Exports

Christmas is that special time of year when you focus on the important things. You know, the things that really warm your heart when the season rolls around. Family, friends, present, egg nog, demonic childhood icons sealed away under mountains...

Somebody is gonna fall in there and get such an owie.

Yep, that's basically the gist of this film. Santa is one scary guy and he's been trapped under a mountain for many, many years. Then some rich British guy came along and decided it was time to ho ho haul his big ass up out of there. So he hired a nice big crew of professionals to dig up Big Red and, as such, gave them some very careful guidelines regarding this:
  • No drinking
  • No smoking
  • No cursing
  • No loitering
  • No frolicking
  • No arguing
  • No photos
 This proves immediately to be a problem, as it gets questioned quite liberally. The exchange goes like they're discussing a nuclear scenario, really. It's quite serious, like this guy can't possibly make his men obey some minor rules, because it's against his faith or something.

Why all these rules? You'd think you were paying us money to do a job or something!
Anyway, they're not the direct focus of the film. No, the people in the village at the bottom of the mountain are. They're a community of reindeer keepers who basically survive off of the meat from the beasts every year. And among them is a young boy with a dick for a friend. This boy is Pietari and his father is basically the main man in the reindeer meat trade the town has going. The kid is bright-eyed and curious about who Santa really is. So he reads up on the fat man and finds some things most kids would find more than a bit disconcerting. Like Santa peeking in windows while you sleep, eating kids, terrorizing the countryside, and generally partaking in very un-jolly things. So Pietari does what any reasonable kid would do: he gets a gun and sets traps.

The only stocking getting stuffed this year is yours, old man.
His dad is a bit less understanding regarding the bear trap up the chimney. But his old man is setting traps of his own, as there seems to be wolf problem. He even digs lovely hole full of sharpened sticks just for those cuddly wolves with a large chunk of dead animal hanging over it. Nothing says Christmas like dead animals, right, kids? Meanwhile, it's time to start thinking about the reindeer harvest. Sadly, it seems that the hundreds of reindeer there had were all slaughtered (barring a few stragglers). The adults, of course, assume this is wolves being chased down from the mountain due to the digging crew and the hole in the fence. But our boy Pietari knows a Santa slaughter when he sees one. And, sure enough, his dad catches and old man covered in blood with beard as white as snow in his sharpened stick hole of death. He worries the old man is dead or dying and seeks aid, but ultimately they realize that this guy is not just an old man. Nope, he's a really creepy finger eating old man.

I only wanted a nibble.
They come to the conclusion that this is Santa and decide to sell him to the old British gent from earlier. But things kinda go downhill from there. Now, I don't want to spoil anything from the finale for you, but let's just say that one shouldn't ever forget about Santa's little helpers. This movie was intriguing, to say the least. It was equal parts mysterious creepfest and dark comedy. I loved every minute of it. The acting was pretty well done and the atmosphere was pitch perfect. Director Jalmari Helander did a top notch job bringing this dark holiday tale to life and the payoff at the end was well worth the price of the purchase. The Blu Ray also has a nice little bonus of the classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, thus giving you two great Christmas films from the price of just the one. Christmas may be over, but don't let that stop you from giving Rare Exports a viewing. It's sure to jingle your bells. Until next time...

We're gonna need a bigger sleigh!

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