There is plenty to be frightened of this Christmas.  At least in Finland.  In the world’s farthest reaches of desolation, it gets dark by mid afternoon — and Krampas can come out to play.  A father and son manage a meager existence as reindeer ranchers.  This year, however, something has affected their normal migration pattern.  He and fellow villagers suspect the disturbances on the Korvatunturi mountains may be the culprit, nor are they convinced that the project is only seismic testing when they find explosives and a nearly bottomless pit on top of the mountain. 

Piertari (Onni Tommila), the son, is young enough to still believe, and old enough to research the dark folklore, to realize the drilling company is releasing Santa Claus.  But this is no “Coca-Cola Santa”, he explains.  Krampas was an angry old demon who kidnapped and whipped children when they were bad.  The Sami people of Finland became tired of this man, so they lured him out on to the ice, where he fell in.  As the lake began to thaw, they cut out the block of ice, carried it to the mountains and packed it in several feet of sawdust, to ensure it would never melt and their children would be safe.  From then on, only the benevolent Saint Nicolas would bring the festivities of Christmas.  When potato sacks, radiators and children start disappearing, Piertari takes charge and must convince the adults he knows how to save the town. 

While there are many scary moments, this is not a horror movie.  The elves are rather like zombies, the father is a butcher, the bad corporate guy looks just like the short Nazi from Raiders of the Lost Ark, and people are disappearing, but there is no gore.  It is suspenseful but not gruesome.  That is what makes this film work.  It takes itself seriously and doesn’t become a silly slasher film.  That’s not to say it doesn’t have it’s extremely funny moments.  
The child is a great actor with surprising ability.  He reminds me of Bruno from the Bicycle Thief.  He carries this movie, much as he carries the survival of his town on his shoulders. 

Kudos to the Helander brothers, the writers of the film who not only told an engaging story, but included numerous small details that made it possible to believe Krampus might be real. 


Adding to the suspense is our own non-understanding of Finnish culture, particularly in their day to day life.  The audience’s lack of knowledge of what is “normal” makes the simplest things eerie and unsettling.  

I let you discover the amazing ending for yourself, but do add this to your annual Christmas movie list.  


Thanks to Jim Reed and Psychotronic Films for showing it in Savannah.

2 thoughts on “REVIEW: RARE EXPORTS (2010)”

  1. Nice review, Meaghan. So glad you were able to make it out last night. I had a feeling you'd dig RARE EXPORTS. Happy Holidays – and don't forget: NO CURSING, NO SMOKING and WASH BEHIND YOUR EARS…

  2. Nice review, Meaghan. So glad you were able to make it out last night. I had a feeling you'd dig RARE EXPORTS. Happy Holidays – and don't forget: NO CURSING, NO SMOKING and WASH BEHIND YOUR EARS…

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