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Hatching is a disturbing, coming-of-age body horror that has an obvious yet engaging story-line, terrific performances and gorgeous visuals.
Written by Becca Johnson / September 15, 2022

Hatching is a Finnish horror gem centering on young Tinja, a girl who desperately tries to please her Mother, an individual who is obsessed with impressing and appearing to have the perfect family. One day, Tinja finds a strange egg and brings it home to keep it safe; what hatches is beyond Tinja's belief.

Siiri Solalinna was not tasked with an easy first feature length role as Tinja, a young gymnast who is constantly pushed to her limits by her Mother, yet she triumphantly delivers. Her performance is not only extremely layered and complex for someone of her age, but disturbing and mesmerising all at once. The material is way beyond her years, but she never lets the audience doubt for a second that she understands it thoroughly. In the role of Mother is Sophia Heikkila (Dual), also fantastic, who effortlessly switches up between sugar sweet, glamorous, loving mum, and anxiety inducing perfectionist with an evil streak, making you captivated by her and fear her in equal measures. The two work well together, creating a believable tricky relationship showcasing the lengths that children can go to to keep their pushy parents happy.

From the get-go, Hatching has captivating visuals that are bright, colourful and enticing. It's dreamlike feel elevates the surreal and often fantastical script even further, making the audience feel like they are in a comfortable setting despite what's to come. It's use of pastels, neutrals and light pinks are easy on the eye and beautiful, making the horror visuals all the more disturbing and shocking when they occur. The costuming sees everyone looking their very best at all times, as if everything is perfect and nothing can go wrong; this is very meta given that the central plot explores how things that look picture perfect on the outside can be ugly on the inside.

It's best to go into Hatching as blind as possible, but it's also good to know that the movie is very metaphorical in its plot. It uses horror to tell a coming-of-age story about an individual facing extreme pushy parenting, pressure, loneliness and a slew of other issues off the back of this. Though it has an interesting and unique premise at face value, it doesn't take long to see where things are going, and its messages are very on the nose. Despite this, it does a lot in it's particularly short run-time, and although it has familiar plot beats, it also manages to feel like a pretty new experience.

So it's well acted, metaphorical and gorgeous to look at, but does it deliver as a horror? Yes. Hatching has it's fair share of jump scares and other cliche's we are used to, but it's body horror is particularly well done and a standout. The use of practical effects is admirable, proving once again that this is often the most effective route. Some scenes are just plain disgusting, and it doesn't shy away from making its audience gag and want to look away. Though it is gory and gross all the way through, that doesn't stop it from having an exciting and fear inducing climax. Hatching is the sort of horror that gets under your skin and doesn't leave for days; you'll be thinking about it for a while and may never look at a bird in quite the same way.

Hatching is a bold, enjoyable and horrifying directorial feature debut from Hanna Bergholm, an individual we should definitely be keeping an eye on. It's scary, it's full of talent both in front of and behind the camera, and it explores interesting and important themes. The script may be a little predictable and obvious with it's messages at times, but its execution keeps it interesting and worthwhile. It's one of the best horrors of the year, not to be missed.



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