I could not tell you the amount of times I have excitedly pressed played on the DVD during the Yuletide season only to be disappointed by yet another horrifically awful Christmas horror film. I had prepared myself for yet another ‘bah humbug’ of a movie, so you can only imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I was instantly drawn into this dark Finnish horror.Set in Northern Finland by the Russian border, a somewhat over-the-top millionaire commissions an excavation on a mountain. We soon discover, thanks to the knowledgeable Pietari (the inquisitive and imaginative son of a reindeer butcher/hunter played by Onni Tommila), that they are attempting to uncover the real Santa Claus that was frozen and buried by Laplanders many hundreds of years prior.
Needless to say, this is not the Santa Claus of Coca Cola’s creation, but rather a monstrous, horned demon that devours little children. Also buried within the mountain are hundreds of elves, who annihilate Pietari’s father’s reindeer, steal radiators (that will make sense later in the film) and kidnap children from their beds, replacing them with the scariest doll I have ever seen. Somehow Pietari, after reading one too many horror folktales before bed, realises straight away what has happened and enlists the help of his father and friends to find the kids and destroy Santa.
Whilst this is not a film that will be to everyone’s taste, it is by far one of the most intriguing Christmas horrors I have seen. A little dark humour, damn right terrifying elves and of course, a splash of Christmas ‘cheer’, this is definitely a must-watch for anyone who is looking for something a little different this festive period.
I’m not sure I envisage it becoming a yearly tradition such as Black Christmas (1974), but it is something I could definitely see myself watching next year.