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Thursday, June 16, 2022

Review: Hatching

Director: Hanna Bergholm

Screenplay: Hanna Bergholm and Ilja Rautsi

Year: 2022

Parenting is not an easy job, and every experience is different, but there are things that many of us can agree on that are harmful to a child. Constantly pressuring a child to do something they are not interested in and having unrealistic expectations can create traumatic situations that affect development and even personality and can last into adulthood. “Hatching” uses elements of conventional horror films to explore this theme of psychological horror.

In “Hatching” (“Pahanhautoja”), we follow Tinja, a young gymnast who is constantly subjected to pressure from her influencer mother, who seeks to project an image of perfection in all aspects of her life. Tinja finds a raven's egg in the middle of a forest, which she takes home and takes care of until it hatches. What emerges from the egg is a very different creature than he expected.

“Hatching” begins by introducing Tinja and her family, as her influencer mother shoots a video about her perfect family. Immediately afterward, a raven enters the house and before they can catch it destroys part of the glass ornamentation of the house, to which Tinja reacts by killing the animal and disposing of it in an organic waste container. This disruption and symbolism of organic decomposition are just the first of many metaphors Hanna Bergholm brings to her directorial and screenwriting debut.

In this same scene, we see the discomfort and disapproval of Tinja, majestically played by Siiri Solalinna, but who can do little more than care for the egg of the creature she finds later in the film. On the other hand we have the father, who is another example of a bad father, as he does absolutely nothing to counteract the absurd pressure that the mother exerts on Tinja, as he completely ignores his son, and as in general he never does anything that could be contrary to his will. 

Although it plays out primarily as a psychological horror film, “Hatching” also heavily uses the creature feature and body horror genres. Once the creature comes out of the egg, we see the excellent special effects, which are mostly practical, are fundamental in showing the gradual change from a bird to a more human appearance. This transformation and the relationship of the creature with Tinja is the most important metaphor of the film, where fears, repression, frustrations, and even health conditions are worked on that are reflected in Tinja as a product of the toxic relationship that the whole family has.

“Hatching” is the kind of movie that stays with you for a long time, and the more you think about it, the more you understand its symbology and want to see it again. If I had written this review right after seeing it, the tone and punctuation would be completely different. How psychological themes are developed through metaphors represented with characteristics of horror films is sublime and reminded me of other films that have achieved the same, such as “The Babadook”. Don't let its psychological theme make you think that it forgets about horror, as it has many memorable moments and great use of special effects for body horror.

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