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Hatching review: Cracking under pressure

Updated: Sep 10, 2022

I had the pleasure of viewing Hatching at ODEON's Scream Unseen this week. Scream Unseen is a special horror pre-release screening where you buy tickets in advance without knowing what film you will be seeing until the lights go down. I had been looking forward to the release of Hatching in the UK so was thrilled to find out I was seeing it before its release to the public.

(Spoiler-free review)

Hatching (Pahanhautoja) is a 2022 Finnish body horror film directed by Hanna Bergholm and written by Ilja Rautsi. It premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2022, and went on to win the Grand Prix and the Prix du Jury Jeunes at the Festival international du film fantastique de Gérardmer 2022. It is a twisted coming-of-age story that centres on lonely 12-year-old gymnast Tinja who is desperate to impress her overbearing mother, a woman obsessed with presenting the image of a perfect family through her popular blog for the world to envy. This is all turned upside down when Tinja discovers a mysterious egg in the forest and decides to take it home and nurture it. Tinja starts to form a bond with the rapidly growing egg whilst keeping it a secret from her family, but things get complicated when the egg finally hatches.

Hatching is a fresh entry into the horror genre that is full of unsettling imagery and underlying themes and symbolism for viewers to unpack. The storyline is creative and innovative and takes viewers on a wild ride. Initially, the film may seem simple and predictable, however, all isn't as it seems. It is a very promising debut for director Hanna Bergholm, who has demonstrated her talent for creating an engaging film with flawless storytelling, that allows room for imagination and leaves viewers trying to make sense of the psychological aspects scattered throughout.

The cast is a small but strong ensemble that put up a solid performance. Particularly by Siiri Solalinna who made her acting debut playing the challenging role of Tinja. The set production and cinematography is bright, colourful and clean giving off a fantasy, fairytale vibe which is complimented by beautiful but creepy music that fits the tone. The special effects are fantastic, the realism and attention to detail is really impressive. The sound effects stood out to me in this film more than usual as they are really strong and eerie, which made me cringe multiple times throughout.

Going into this film I had no idea what to expect. The only thing I had knowledge of was the fact that it was a "strange one", which is what caught my attention. Early on in the film I was a little sceptical as I wasn't sure where it could possibly go to really shock and impress me, but boy was I wrong to judge so soon. I was delighted by how a simple story was told in a raw and fresh way and was extremely impressed by the inventive use of puppetry and special effects. The disturbing imagery is the best I've seen for a while, and definitely won't be leaving my head anytime soon. I thoroughly enjoyed Hatching and it's made it's way onto my list of top horror films of 2022. If you're into strange and unsettling body horror that clings onto your brain for days you definitely don't want to skip this one.

Hatching is currently streaming on Hulu and comes to UK cinemas on 16 September 2022.


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