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Film Review: “Hatching” Births a Fascinating Monster Within a Flawed Story

Written by: Hannah Tran | April 28th, 2022

Film poster: “Hatching”

Hatching (Hanna Bergholm, 2022) 2½ out of 4 stars.

The lines between brutality and maternity disastrously collide in the Finnish horror film Hatching, in which a young gymnast decides to raise a bird egg as her own, only to find that what’s lurking inside is not what she expected. This exploration of motherhood and neglect makes way for a sharp examination of these ideas on both a primitive and extremely modern level. However, the compelling setup paired with its impressive creature design can only buoy the unlikable characters and oversimple thematic approach for so long. The final moments cast an unfortunate light upon the initial intelligence of the idea with a poorly developed resolution.

Hatching is at all times held together by the magnetic presence of its young lead, Siiri Solalinna, who steps into the role of both Tinja, the young gymnast, and Alli, her adopted creature. Tinja’s parents parade her and her brother in online vlogs, purporting to have an enviably perfect family. In reality, Tinja lacks a strong bond with anyone in her family, especially her uncaring mother, who is having an affair. Solalinna wonderfully portrays Tinja’s emotions under the pressure of a hostile family without affection and expertly reverses this to portray her own maternal instincts in regard to Alli.

Siiri Solalinna in HATCHING ©IFC Films

As Alli develops, their character design and execution become the central point of intrigue within the story. The combination of practical and digital effects makes for a genuinely scary and satisfyingly gory effect. The transformation personifies Tinja’s internal struggles to fit into her family and the notion that children inevitably turn into versions of their parents. Although, as Alli becomes more like Tinja, the effects do take a sharp turn into less frightening and less creative territory.

This downturn coincides with the story’s. As it reaches its conclusion, the once-interesting themes and concepts feel overstated and also clouded by a number of less relevant thematic ideas. Its central commentary is too simple to feel anything but heavy-handed by the last act. Yet once the last act is in motion, it begins to be unclear what the film is really trying to say. The lack of clarity and oddly paced transformations of the characters and their relationships with each other become very obvious in this last part, and this fully lets down Hatching’s most intriguing and innovative elements of its first half.

Siiri Solalinna in HATCHING ©IFC Films

A short, frustrating story with wonderfully bizarre concepts, Hatching is a body-horror that delivers disgusting thrills. Although these elements are disappointed by a confusing and mostly unintelligent third act, the performances, creature design, and moody tone offer enough interest to make it through the flaws within its brief narrative.

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Hannah Tran is a film critic and filmmaker from Las Vegas, Nevada. Hannah works as a film screener for the Las Vegas Film Festival and publishes an independent zine focused on highlighing Asian American filmmaking.

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