Hatching (Finnish: Pahanhautoja) is a 2022 Finnish body horror film directed by Hanna Bergholm. The film won the Grand Prix and the Prix du Jury Jeunes at the Festival international du film fantastique de Gérardmer 2022.
S P O I L E R S
The premise of Hatching may be summed up as follows –
A young gymnast who tries desperately to please her demanding mother, discovers a strange egg. She hides it and keeps it warm, but when it hatches, what emerges shocks them all. (IMDb)
Like the best horror movies, Hatching contains a strong social allegory. While the basic storyline is fantastical viz. the creature (“Alli”) that is hatched by Tinja (Siiri Solalinna) morphs from a hideous bird to Tinja’s human doppleganger feeding off the dark emotions of its ‘mother’, there are potent messages about dysfunction family, social media pressure and emotional repression lying beneath the surface.
Sophia Heikkilä plays the self-absorbed feminist Mother that is at the centre of Tinja’s emotional traumas. Mother is a vlogger and takes pains to present a perfect family picture to her followers, even though she is unfaithful to her ‘simp’ husband and tough on Tinja. Central to Tinja’s trauma is being unable to please Mother with her gymnastic prowess, which is below the standards Mother demands.
Tinja becomes a mother to Alli by regurgitating food – like a bird – and also feeding Alli her emotional essence as it transforms into a twin of Tinja. Along the way, due to Tinja’s negative emotions – like jealousy – Alli will kill and maim, to the horror of Tinja.
By the end of the film, Tinja realises that the creature is really her dark self and does whatever is necessary to protect others from Alli but at the same time, unable to bring herself to destroy it. What ultimately transpires is tragic and disturbing – a bizarre coming of age tale.
Hatching certainly demonstrates that director Bergholm and debutant actor Solalinna are talents to keep a close watch on. Highly recommended.
Hatching is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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