Much like Vikaren, or maybe even The Monster Squad, Rare Exports is definitely a family friendly "Horror" flick geared towards a younger crowd.
Deep in the snowy mountains of Finland, life is simple: for the most part, people herd reindeer and grimace at each other a lot. That's pretty much it. So imagine how exciting it is for little Pietari to discover that a nearby mining company has unearthed the frozen grave of... Santer Klaus! Is that what they call him in Finland? Sinterklass? Father Christmas? Joulupukki? I don't know, I'm just talking about Santa.
Santa isn't fat and jolly in Finland; no, he's wizened and gangly, and above all, really creepy. He prefers to punish the naughty, and I'm pretty sure he eats kids too. So it makes perfect sense for a group of local villagers to throw him in a cage and poke him with sticks, threatening to sell him into prostitution to pay for their dead reindeer... which he apparently ate. Also, the children of the town are disappearing, and only little Pietari seems to notice...
From here on out the movie gets all sorts of crazy, culminating in some daring helicopter acrobatics and a showdown with Santa's Elves. Don't ask, just sit back and enjoy the fun of it all, would you?
Rare Exports is a fun and fresh ride, and is definitely a movie that caters towards the younger horror fans out there; it's not a kids movie, but rather is enough of one in tone and content that it's not only safe for them to watch, but they should love the hell out of it when they do. Imagine if the Monster Squad and The Thing had a baby, and it was adopted and raised by The Goonies and Vikaren. That's this movie in a nutshell. The good news is, it's a great watch for adult horror fans too.
The idea that Santa Claus is a creepy, evil, twisted monster that really only exists to punish the wicked is a hell of a concept, and Rare Exports makes the most out of the premise and does so in a fun way. There's a twist that comes a bit more towards the end of the film that I didn't see coming, and it "change" the movie for me a bit, but it worked well. Despite it being a bit different than I had expected, I have to say that the ending made me cheer a little, as a kid basically steps up and saves everyone's asses for them, because the adults just can't seem to get their shit together. Good for you, Pietari. You're a good kid.
If there's a negative about the movie, for me at least, it's that I would have liked to have seen a bit more bloody carnage from Santy Claus and his Elves. I like how it all played out, but I guess I was expecting more of a murderous-Santa rampage kind of thing, rather than what I got. I'm not complaining, I'm just sayin'.
A Rare Exports is a fun, interesting take on the legend of Santa Claus, and you should definitely give it a chance.