🇫🇮 HATCHING (2020) 🇫🇮
Hatching (2022) is a Finnish drama-fantasy-horror feature film available on BFI Player in the U.K. 1 hour 31 minutes in length. Rated 18 U.K. In Finnish with embedded English subtitles.
“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
Siiri Solalinna as Tinja/Alli
Sophia Heikkilä as Mother
Jani Volanen as Father
Reino Nordin as Teri
Oiva Ollila as Matias
Ida Määttänen as Reetta
Saija Lentonen as Coach
Hertta Karen as Alli Early Stages 2
Jonna Aaltonen as Alli Early Stages 1
Writers: Hanna Bergholm, Ilja Rautsi
Director: Hanna Bergholm
Composer: Stein Berge Svendsen
Cinematographer: Jarkko T. Laine
Editor: Linda Jildmalm
Production Designer: Päivi Kettunen
Costume Designer: Ulrika Sjölin
Makeup: Marina Ritvall, Connor O’Sullivan
I had high hopes for this film. I had read that it had won some awards and I have a penchant for drama-fantasy-horror films and series (I’ve watched a fair few). So, how far were my hopes fulfilled?
There is a lot to like about Hatching. It starts well, is immediately engaging and suitably unsettling. The “creature” nods to ET albeit in a far less endearing way.
I loved the way that this was directed! Bearing in mind this is a first feature for the director it is impressive. The use of the camera was excellent and I thought it was generally well-edited. The music and sound design both enhanced the atmosphere and helped create tension.
The setting (note that it was filmed in Latvia, not Finland) was ideal for this type of film. I enjoyed also the trope of the house itself.
The makeup and VFX are both excellent! And since these cannot work in a vacuum the acting was very good as well. I thought the child actors excelled given the parts they had. I will say that Siiri Solalinna and the others playing Elli were very impressive. All the adult cast was also extremely good. I’m going to add, unfortunately, that caveat I have used quite a lot of late which is: given the material they have to work with all the actors performed well.
I must mention also the costuming and production design which caught my eye as being just right for the off-kilter characters and sinister storyline.
All this sounds very positive and, as I said, there is much to like in this film. There are however areas which I felt were wanting and certainly left me wanting more.
As a film, it leans into body horror at times, so there’s vomit, blood and injuries… and a dog… If anything though it seemed as if it wasn’t quite sure how far it should commit to that style of horror, the result being that it felt as of it was caught between two stools. It does have some nice jump scares though and doesn’t give into the temptation to use too many.
Unfortunately, for me, one aspect that stopped this film from being as effective as I hoped it would be, and that it clearly had the potential to be, was the story and especially the characters and their development within the story.
The mother was so awful and unsympathetic that I would have gladly watched her become a tasty snack. Unfortunately, this meant that when her switch comes it comes too late and seemingly too suddenly to evoke any emotions in me. The father was incredibly 2-dimensional. The brother was so unsympathetic and whiney that when we are (I think) supposed to worry about his safety and his stuffed toy of a father… we don’t give a jot. Eat them, or get all stabby — I don’t care…
This film uses metaphors (goodness doesn’t it just!) but it’s quite heavy-handed, unsubtle and, perhaps, overly repetitive. I did feel that the balance between metaphor and character development wasn’t as it needed to be.
Overall though, I do think that Hatching is worth watching. I particularly loved everything visual that it offered. Also, if you haven’t watched many films in this genre you may enjoy it even more.
There is a great deal to like about Hatching and I do look forward to the chance to watch the director’s and actors next projects.
6 Award Wins & 11 Nominations
Gérardmer Film Festival (2022) ~ Best Film ~ Hanna Bergholm; Youth Jury Grand Prize
Jussi Awards (2022) ~ Best Production Design, Best Makeup Design, Nordisk Film Award
Sitges – International Film Festival ~ Best Special Effects
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