Hatching – movie review

A creepy, well-made horror movie, Hatching bites.

Young gymnastics student Tinja appears to have the perfect Finnish family. At least her social media obsessed mother wants the outside world to believe that. It is all about perfect smiles and beautiful things. She is also one of those pushy parents who desperately wants her daughter to succeed. (She, herself, was a champion skater and has an ugly scar on her thigh to show for it, the inference being her career on ice was cut short because of the injury.) To that end, she makes Tinja practice her routines to the point of exhaustion and bleeding and blistered hands ahead of her first competition. If truth be known, Tinja isn’t as good as her new neighbour of similar age, who she befriends. And there is now only one place left to fill in the competition.

Mind you, there is a lot more going on here than a gymnastics competition. It starts when a black bird hits a window in their home and then flies around inside, creating havoc. Tinja is shocked by her mother’s treatment of the situation. But more is to follow on that count after Tinja finds the same bird suffering in the forest. As a result, she “rescues” a small egg lying alongside the bird, only to see it grow exponentially and hatch days later at her place, unbeknown to the rest of her family, namely her mother, father and younger brother. But this is no ordinary bird. The shocking looking thing with sharp, animal like claws and frightening teeth is positively demonic. At the same time, Tinja’s mother shatters Tinja’s illusions about domestic bliss after Tinja catches her out.

Writer Ilja Rautsi (from the story by director Hanna Bergholm) has done a fine job crafting a genuinely shocking story. I was appalled and engrossed. While some of the threads don’t come as a surprise, others most certainly do … and Hatching is all the better for that. It has elements in common with the horror mystery The Babadook (2014). I was also reminded of the picture-perfect world being shattered in The Stepford Wives (2004). Special effects and sound effects heighten the tension.

Siiri Solalinna is outstanding as the timid but immaculately turned-out central character. She manages to wear her character’s heart on her sleeve. Her happiness, fear and loathing are palpable. Her face belies the mood shifts critical to the role. I also appreciated Sophia Heikkila as the strong-willed mother, all puffed up with airs and graces. Put another way, “entitlement” rests easily on her shoulders.

Hatching provokes, disturbs and alarms, as is the domain of the best horror.

Hatching is in limited release

Alex First

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