By Joan Amenn
Do you like your holiday entertainment a little on the dark side? Maybe you’re just tired of the same old sickly sweet films year after year? Well, we have the antidote to all that and you better watch out, better not cry because “Rare Exports” (2010) is going to blow your mind with its take on the origin of Santa Claus. A word of caution however, this is NOT a children’s holiday film even though Onni Tommila is great as its young protagonist, Pietari. The film is set in Finland which lends a creepy sense of frozen dread to this almost Lovecraftian take on the holidays. There is a gentle streak of comedy that runs through it all, culminating in a laugh out loud punchline of an ending. Well, maybe you just have to have a certain kind of twist to your funny bone to appreciate it but this tale of reindeer herders living a little too close for comfort to the border with Russia has its moments. When those pesky international neighbors start setting off explosives in the nearby mountains, the children of the herding community soon learn that they are prey for a not so jolly elf and his minions. Its all rather gothic fun for late night viewing after an exhausting day of hearing mall carolers sing “Jingle Bells” for the hundredth (thousandth?) time. Break out the glogg and enjoy, but don’t say we didn’t warn you about Santa having a temperamental streak!