The holiday horror sub-genre has a lot to offer for those who need the macabre to get through the holidays. There’s Silent Night Deadly Night with Robert Brian Wilson portraying the quintessential cinematic beefcake serial killer, Christmas Evil starring Fiona Apple’s father as a Santa-obsessed psycho angered by a Penthouse-reading child, and of course, Black Christmas, a film that found a fan in Elvis Presley (if you’re willing to believe anything contributed to IMDb trivia).
Personally speaking, if you want the peak Black Christmas experience, it’s in the 2006 remake. An endless display of gouged-out eyeballs and incestuous activities taking place in an attic like we’re reading a V.C. Andrews novel? No December is complete without it!
There’s also a great indie Christmas horror film I first saw on Shudder from 2015 called Body. It’s one of those small scale horror movies where Larry Fessenden shows up. Highly recommended!
Alright that’s enough stalling, let’s talk about a lump of coal as welcoming as being subjected to a Pentatonix cover of “White Christmas.”
Rare Exports is a Finnish dark fantasy/horror film that reeks of hipster cred. It was released in 2010, and soon after attracted a fanbase of dudes who look like Judah Friedlander. While bros doing bicep curls next to the Christmas tree praise Die Hard, pale dudes with a lumberjack’s beard smirk in the most condescending way as they inform you about this spooky Finnish film.
Few things are as lifeless as the first hour of Rare Exports. The film has a thirty minute script at best. Everything around that is bearded men wondering what to do while eating gingerbread cookies. Most horror movies condition you into expecting something to happen, so when the first hour kills the kind of time only seen from TV shows stalling to fill a 12-hour season, it’s a tedious experience. Unless you love something like The Walking Dead, where a majority of the action is dirty, bearded men shrugging their shoulders, Rare Exports isn’t for you.
But it’s appreciated by a “got my Nirvana shirt at Urban Outfitters” community because the film follows people doing the most thankless and exhausting physical labor. For whatever reason, hipster males love watching people do the kind of grueling work they’d never touch. I guess when your parents pay for your share of the rent while you’re finding yourself in New York, this sort of thing is exotic.
Along with adults working the kind of jobs that turn you into an alcoholic, Rare Exports follows one of most insufferable brats ever put into a movie, Pietari. There’s nobody whose well-being I care less about than a little shit running around in the snow without pants on, clutching a stuffed animal. Towards the end of this film there’s a self-sacrifice moment that’s far from earned. I couldn’t care less if the film ended on Pietari being ripped to unrecognizable shreds by grimy Santas as Perry Como’s “Here We Come A-Caroling” played.
Something Rare Exports does have going for it, though, is how great it looks for that first nap-inducing hour. But that great camerawork quickly disappears when this film with a $2 million budget starts using CGI. You think CGI looks bad in a blockbuster? You should see how poor it looks in an independent horror film from 2010. There’s a moment where everything presented on the screen is this nighttime glob of CGI with a helicopter swinging children over a crowd of Santas. If an animator tried putting this into a PlayStation 2 game in 2004, they would’ve been fired.
Another positive note, Rare Exports mercifully wraps up its dull journey in 85 minutes. We’ll forever be in debt to the editor’s generosity.
So if you’re someone who has Rare Exports included in your yearly holiday re-watches, I’m not judging your taste. I just think you should be boiled in your own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through your heart.