Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
Directed by Jalmari Helander
Cornerhouse, 19 December 2010
This curious film succeeds in being scary and suspenseful yet also funny, funny in retrospect and on reflection also.
It is basically a spoof on all those films that feature a monster of some kind: Frankenstein, H. R. Giger’s Alien creature, Hannibal Lecter. The conceit is that here the monster is Santa Claus, re-imagined or now discovered to be a malevolent being who punishes naughty children and can appear in millions of homes at once to do it: the magic of Christmas.
One of the best things about the film – its secret, in fact – is the way in which it manages to keep a straight face. There is a deadpan quality to much of the humour and it uses parodies of such films as The Silence of the Lambs, but there are no overt nods or winks to the camera, as you find in, say, the Airplane films.
All in all, a compelling and immensely entertaining film, although it has no significant message beyond itself, unless it is: be nice, not naughty, just to be on the safe side.
You leave the cinema in wonder that Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale can both scare you and make you smile. But somehow it does.