Based on the popular 2003 short Rare Exports Inc. by Jalmari and Juuso Helander, Rare Exports tells the tale of a privately funded excavation on the Korvatunturi mountain which uncovers the body of something or someone long though to be a myth. He knows when you’ve been naughty, he knows when you’ve been nice, he just doesn’t give a fuck. Whilst children and animals begin to disappear from a nearby village, the only person who seems to know what’s going on is little Pietari Kontio (Onni Tommila). Mocked by his peers for believing in Santa Claus and ignored by a father whose inner demons are never explored, Pietari tries to become a one child army against the potential festive threat.
The idea of a muderous Santa is hardly new (thank you Silent Night, Deadly Night), but the treatment here is. In the film’s universe, mankind has chosen to forget about the bad things Santa Claus did and even where he truly comes from. The problem is Rare Exports, whilst enjoyable, is a strange beast. On one hand, it feels like an 80s classic in the vein of The Goonies. On the other, scenes of naked bearded men chasing children through the snow suggest otherwise. It has its dark moments, but it never plummets into gore. The black humour runs throughout, with the film’s denouement basically being the punchline to the film’s title.
And maybe that’s why I came out of it wanting more. The film is only short and good deal of it is spent building up to the reveal of Santa. And when he does arrive, the film decides to speed towards a ending before anyone has had chance to let it all settle in. That said, as an alternative to the usual Christmas fare, this is definitely one Bad Santa that’s worth checking out.