Flash Movie Review: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Almost every town, neighborhood and village has its own folk tales. In the neighborhood where I grew up there were 2 houses that all of us kids believed were haunted. One house was perched on the corner of my block. Painted in a dark brown color, there were curling vines that creeped up the sides of the house scarring the paint off the wood, leaving the brooding house looking wounded. The other house was a couple of blocks away from our apartment but I never ventured by its rounded gate that had spikes on the top. My friends and I knew not to stop at these houses during Halloween. In my travels I have come across an area’s legends and stories; some had a fun quirkiness to them while others were used to explain the unexplainable. In this adventure fantasy film I loved the folklore presented to set up the story. While a mysterious archaeological dig was taking place in the mountains above the village; young Pietari Kontio, played by Onni Tommila (Last Cowboy Standing) noticed several children had gone missing right before Christmas. This film festival winning movie captured my attention immediately even with it also being considered a horror film. Set in the mountains of Finland, I felt I was transported to the coldness of the town as little clues were being dropped to the viewer, leading us like a lamb to slaughter. I knew no one in the cast, such as Jorma Tommila (Priest of Evil, Sisters Apart) as Pietari’s father Rauno and Tommi Korpela (The Home of Dark Butterflies, A Man’s Job) as Aimo; but it did not matter, it only heightened my belief that I was watching the actual town folk. The story was wickedly dark and amusing at the same time; I just found it creative in a twisted sort of way. Now I have no idea whether this tale was actually based on some true folk legend, but I found it to be a brilliant method to keep the viewer guessing as the plot unfolded. It was amazing to me how the writers took basic things most of us knew or had heard of and turned them into something different with sinister overtones. If you plan on  seeing this picture be prepared because there were a couple of gruesome scenes. As some of you know I am not a big fan of horror movies, but I have to tell you I had a great time watching this film. It certainly gave a new meaning to the phrase, “…who was naughty or nice.” There were a couple of scenes with blood that some may find disturbing. Finnish with English subtitles.

 

 3 1/4 stars — DVD 

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About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on February 6, 2014, in Foreign and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. It’s nice to see something original isn’t it. I reviewed it over Christmas and liked it. It’s not one for this kids though!

    • Thomas I am glad you said something, I should have mentioned this is not a kid’s movie. And yes, it was so refreshing to be swept away with something original. Thanks for your comments.

  2. I just watched Silent Night (2012) starring Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King and Donal Logue on Starz. While doing so, I thought of you and this review. I wasn’t expecting much of the film to begin with but held onto the hope of finding a dark treasure much like the one you found in A Christmas Tale. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The film was filled with violence and gore with some nudity but the story was practically nonexistent and explained within a few minutes through the eyes of a drunken Santa Claus that just happened to be a cocaine dealer. (*SPOILER ALERT* He was not the killer.) Most of the men in the film were painted as drunks, drug addicts and/or sexual deviants including the local town preacher and the majority of women were nothing more than scantially clad eye candy. I honestly couldn’t tell if the writer thought it was a good idea to make McDowell the tough talking Sheriff or if the intent was for the character to be some kind of comic relief; either way, the character failed on both counts. I would describe this movie as “horror garbage”. It is the type of film that gives the genre a bad name and as I sat there watching it, I could easily see you giving it a generous 1 1/4 stars. Or maybe that is my own generosity speaking because I certainly wouldn’t sit through it again or recommend it to anyone else.

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