"Rare Exports" offers a uniquely dark take on Christmas that is a hit with critics
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM - Any illusion of Santa as a kind-hearted, child friendly, gift-giving old man is shattered in the decidedly un-Christmassy tale "Rare Exports".
Set in the Finnish Arctic, a team of excavators unearth a menacing old man they believe to be the original Santa Claus.
His frightening presence co-incides with the grizzly slaughter of a herd of reindeer and the disappearance of several children in the village.The locals, led by a young boy find themselves uncovering a closely guarded Christmas secret - one that may leave audiences unable to see Santa as the same gentle, rosey-cheeked chap ever again.
It's the first feature film for director Jalmari Helander, who, unsurprisingly, says he's something of a Christmas grinch.
Jalmari Helander, director, saying):
"I don't like all the Christmas hullaballo . I think it should be more of a peaceful time because it seems people are more stressed out and really, really stressing about Christmas every year and there's something wrong with that."
Helander said he started to question the notion of a jolly, happy Santa fairly early in life.
Jalmari Helander, director, saying:
"It's interesting that when small children see Santa Claus for the first time they are still really afraid of it because it's something like they already have it inside of them before all this childish propaganda pollutes their mind."
The director adapted Rare Exports from two of his own award winning short films.
He said despite the enthusiastic critical reception for the movie there are no plans for a sequel.
He's now working on his second feature which he describes as a "weird action film."
Doug MacLaurin, Reuters.