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First Look- Hatching (2022)

The debut feature of Finnish director Hanna Bergholm, based on a script by Ilja Rautsi, makes its official release this April, having already premiered earlier this year at the Sundance film festival to high praise. If the enigmatic trailer is anything to be believed, it’ll surely establish her as a bold new talent in the world of horror.

The film revolves around Tinja (Siiiri Solalinna), a young gymnast who struggles to meet the high expectations of her perfectionist mother (Sophia Heikkilä), who is determined on maintaining the image of the ideal family for her popular online parenting blog. The girl’s lonely, miserable life is changed forever when she discovers and brings home a mysterious egg, which hatches into a hideous bird creature. As she tries to keep the existence of the rapidly growing and increasingly humanoid entity, who she dubs, ‘Alli’ (also played by Siiri Solalinna in a double role) secret, this is further complicated by the fact that the being seems to be the physical embodiment of her own inner rage and frustration. Unlike the repressed Tinja, the feral Alli is willing to take it out on whatever or whoever is unfortunate enough to cross their path.

From initial impressions, it looks like a deranged cross between Mommy Dearest (1981) and Splice (2009), as directed by Jan Švankmajer. The Brothers Grimm fairy tale-esque nature of the film is aided by the rapid cuts between the young girl in her pastel-colored bedroom and the creature, who is shown only in inhuman close-up, all set to a haunting lullaby score, strikes a perfect balance between tenderness and terror. This is aided by seamless practical effects, which adds a sense of presence to the monster, despite its sparseness of appearances. Hatching seems like a body horror tour de force that will dig its claws into you and refuse to let go.

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