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4.4 out of 5 stars103
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 29 October 2011
I'm very excited that this is finally about to be released on dvd, after a year of waiting! I went to see this at the cinema with my husband, and because it was so unknown we had the screen to ourselves. From the moment it started it had my full attention, and I could tell it was going to be worth every penny. Once we left the cinema I couldn't stop thinking about how brilliant this film was!

It is a bit of a black comedy, but there were some moments that genuinely creeped me out and had me on the edge of my seat. The acting is brilliant, setting is perfect and the plot is absorbing. I highly recommend adding this to your christmas collection if you like to have a bit of variety, however if you want cookies, laughter and puppies with tinsel this may not be for you.

I am hoping that this film starts to get more recognition because it seems to be getting ignored and it really deserves more. I am not going to go into depth about how good the score is or how well it was shot, but i just need to mention that is has been well crafted and succeeds in creating the perfect atmosphere. I genuinely don't have a bad word to say about this film, as soon as it drops through my letter box i will watch it, and it will go on again during xmas week!
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on 4 December 2011
Set at Christmas time on the Finnish/Russian border, this Finnish movie sets out with tongue firmly in cheek and kicks Hollywood's trite annual Santa offerings firmly between the legs. delving (elving, even) into the darker side of xmas.

A top secret Russian excavation is underway on an isolated, snow-covered hill, near the remote homes of a group of reindeer-hunters. As explosives are used to get inside the hill, strange goings-on begin occurring. One young boy starts reading up on folkloric tales of the dark history of the creature people refer to as "Santa Claus" and, as the village's children start to disappear, becomes convinced that the hill excavations have stumbled onto a terrible discovery, and that time is running out.

With, in parts, an almost fairytale atmosphere plus some Christmas parody thrown in for good measure, this dark Finnish comedy is a welcome relief from the cheesy nonsense of the regular Yuletide yarns.

Great stuff.
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on 4 March 2014
Going back to the original Christmas legends of what would happen to the naughty and nice children this film plays around with Nordic legends of Father Christmas and does it very well.

I didn't know much about the film before seeing it which meant every twist and turns comes as a pleasant surprise. Although this in the end a horror film with a darkly comic edge the characters are well written. The film does a lot with a smaller budget and doesn't fall foul of using cheap CGI to fill in for special effects.

This is a very enjoyable comic horror set in the world of remote reindeer farming communities, it looks stunning all the way through and the final ending pay off is a really good unexpected turn around that finally explains the title.

I would highly recommend to genre fans and people looking for alternative films for their Christmas movie collections
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A great mixture of a kid's adventure story (only the child works out what is happening), a monster film and a Christmas story: a sort of Xmas X File. Played well with a nice little mystery to solve and a lot of Finnish dark humour. Some excellent effects. Very good
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on 2 January 2012
An absolutely unexpected movie with a terrific ending. If you love film this is a must see and even if you don't like the story you will marvel at it's originality. All this and no leading lady infact any ladies at all. A christmas tale you could never guess.
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on 11 October 2015
This curious little Finnish film set in Lapland, sees the uncovering of a mysterious object buried deep in the ground; inevitably this object turns out to be the real Santa Claus - a being embodied as a sort of horned demon who eats naughty children. Seen primarily through the eyes of Pietari, a young boy whose father is one of the reindeer herders who see their livestock (and livelihoods) devastated when their prize herd is savagely slaughtered by one of the red-coated one’s malevolent ‘elves’, the film depicts the herders’ less than subtle response, which is to torture their captured elf, round-up his mates, and sell the lot of them into Yuletide slavery! Basically this is a bizarre gothic fairy-tale, but it’s none the worse for it.
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on 9 April 2013
On the cover, it says " Tim Burton, eat your heart out !" ... I wouldn't go this far : it's a good story, but my guess is that Burton would have made it twice as captivating. A lot of possibilities are left unused, a shame.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 September 2015
Set in northern Finland this delightful low-key, low-budget dark fairy tale has a subtle macabre humour running through it resulting in a highly entertaining movie, which I initially rented and will now be buying. When young Pietari (an inquisitive boy) climbs the nearby Korvatunturi Mountains to find out about the geological survey taking place there he encounters the Suomi legend and the true nature of Santa Claus who turns out to be the polar opposite to the affable and avuncular image of the ‘Coca Cola Santa’ we all have. His growing apprehension about the excavations turns to a palpable fear when on Christmas Eve some strange incidents occur – in a local potato factory all the sacks have been stolen, as have all the radiators, cookers and hairdryers from the village houses, but even more disturbing, all the children are missing from their beds (apart from Pietari) replaced by crude wooden dummies. After fortuitously capturing a strange old man, Pietari along with his father and two villagers begin to understand what is happening in the area and decide to act. There is a discernible atavistic change to the tone of the narrative and an uneasy dread descends as our heroes realise that they may be confronting a powerful mythological figure. The wintery landscape is beautifully shot and contributes greatly to creating a foreboding atmosphere to proceedings. All the actors display an engaging commitment to the deadpan humour of this comically surreal story which will undoubtedly become a modern Christmas movie classic.
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Every Christmas there are a few attempts at making a new Christmas classic that studios can milk on home video and TV for decades to come, but for every Elf there are a dozen Surviving Christmases and for every A Christmas Story there's a bloated Polar Express. Rare Exports takes a different route than the usual cookie-cutter feelgood confections, examining the origins of Santa Claus and the whole naughty and nice issue in a whole new light in the kind of Christmas movie that belongs more on the same shelf as Gremlins, The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Lion in Winter than the latest version of A Christmas Carol. And it does it surprisingly well in a film that deserves to become a genuine Christmas classic once word spreads beyond the undeservedly small audience that saw it in cinemas.

It begins with a curious find at a mountaintop drilling site. But these men aren't drilling for minerals or oil but looking for a grave to rob - and not just any old grave. Unfortunately, they find it... and pretty soon the reindeer the locals were counting on to see them through the hard Nordic Winter have all been eaten and the local naughty children start to disappear, replaced in their beds by wicker figures. And then they catch someone in a wolf pit. A silent and feral barefoot old man who likes the smell of gingerbread and children who don't tell the truth to their parents...

While the idea is outrageously attractive, it's a genuinely pleasant surprise to discover that this isn't a simple cheap slasher movie with a gimmick but a well crafted, often fantastic looking film made by a real filmmaker who knows how to build a story and create characters that are believable and who you can root for. Seen through the eyes of Onni Tommila's child who discovers the truth about Santa and his widowed father Jorma Tommila, a rough but good man, it's a wonderfully effective and at times genuinely enchanting throwback to the `cinema of wonder' era of 80s popular cinema: like Gremlins there's a list of instructions you ignore at your peril - no drinking, no smoking, no cursing, no arguing, wash behind the ears - and like The Thing our heroes stumble across a suddenly deserted camp with an ominously large hole in the snow. It even nods to Raiders of the Lost Ark as well, but pleasingly these really are just nods rather than outright copying: this is a film with a story of its own to tell, part modern day Grimm's fairytale, part adventure. The emphasis is very much on the storytelling - the body count is low and the action relegated to the grand finale, so splatter or action fans may be disappointed - but there's a pleasing level of childhood wish fulfilment as young Pietari takes charge and becomes a truly heroic figure once Santa's little helpers make their presence known...

Starting life as a pair of short films that the feature acts as a prequel to, the Region A-locked US Blu-ray release features an impressive array of extras - not only the original shorts but making of featurettes and trailers - but Icon's UK release simply includes... a sound channel check and nothing else but a menu. On the plus side it does offer a fine 2.35:1 widescreen transfer - director Jalmari Helander has an excellent eye for the Scope format - that's for the most part pleasing (there are a couple of noticeable bits of pulsing in a couple of shots, but nothing too drastic or distracting), and this is a film that's good enough to stand on it's own merits even if Santa's Little Helpers at Icon have decided we've been too naughty to get any additional goodies this year. And if you ever wondered how Santa can be in a zillion places at once, now you'll know...
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on 10 February 2014
This is one of the most bizarre alternative Christmas movies I have ever seen. It`s pretty ghoulish in parts so not one for smaller children or adults who are squeamish. The film is about the scientific discovery of Santa Claus who has been frozen in ice in a remote part of Finland for a very long time. Children in a nearby village start disappearing and as the film unwinds, we are given a gory explanation of what is really going on. I was disappointed with the end of the film but cannot explain why without spoiling it. The genre is a bit like The Goonies only MUCH more horrible!
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