Rare Exports

I know. It’s only April, so what the hell am I doing watching a movie about Santa Claus?

Well… the short answer is I’ve wanted to see this Finnish film since I first heard about it.

And now I have.

I was simply delighted with this film. If you take equal parts Goonies, The Thing, Monster Squad and A Christmas Story and gave the kid an actual shotgun, not a pellet gun, you might get somewhere close to the fun that this movie entails.

You see, Santa Claus as we know him is a creation of the Coca-Cola company, sad but true, look it up. The idea of Santa, however, is an old one. And the jolly old fellow, in some versions of his history were not always nice, and naughty children were often punished brutally.

Which brings us to our young hero, Pietari (Onni Tommila). He and his friend are spying on an a dig atop a mountain, where they overhear that the excavators are looking for something, and are going to blast into the depths of the mountain to find it.

Soon, the herd of reindeer that were to supply Pietari and his hard-working, lonely, and trying to do right father Rauno (Jorma Tommila) turn up dead, there are bare footprints appearing across the roof of their home, and outside Pietari’s window, there are creepy, old, bearded, naked men stalking through the snow, and children are vanishing.

Our young hero, who spends most of his time, armored up in his hockey gear, towing a stuffed toy on a leash behind him, and a shotgun strapped across his back, kicks into research mode, learning that the mountain was man-made, burying a malignant creature.

The beauty of the film, in addition to its locations, which looks cold, but lovely, is that everything is played straight, which makes it so much fun!

The creepy old guys are exactly that, and there are hundred of them, as we learn (also explaining how Santa can be everywhere in one night), but much like Santa, you don’t want to be naughty. They’re violent and liable to attack you at any moment, unless you’re well-behaved.

I can see why this film has already achieved cult status in some circles. It’s certainly found its way into my pantheon of favorite Christmas movies which includes films like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

If you’re looking for something a little different, and a lot of fun, you should track this one down. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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