The film begins with a general introduction to a family of four. This family seems to be filled with much joy, happiness, and love, but we soon learn things are not what they seem on the surface. Tinja (Siiri Solalinna), the 12-year-old-daughter, is determined to become a professional gymnast. Her mother strongly encourages her, even more so now as competitions are approaching around the corner.
But the pressures of being accepted into gym competitions and gaining her mother’s approval will not be Tinja’s only challenge. Tinja makes discoveries about her mother, including catching her in the act of a secret love affair. We also gain an understanding of her mother’s cruel, heartless nature when it comes to other people and even animals. Her father and younger brother are generally blind to all truths surrounding Tinja’s mother. Tinja never stands up to her mother or voices her own opinions; she generally accepts everything and does what she’s told. One day, while wandering around the nearby woods, Tinja discovers an egg and decides to keep it warm in her bedroom. The egg soon grows larger and hatches into something unusual and quite disturbing.
A Finnish film with subtitles, Hatching is best described as a horror film containing a few mysterious elements, including the egg Tinja decides to bring into her home. There is a focus on body horror along with a few other elements that some viewers may find slightly gross at times. As a horror film, there are some attempted jump scares, which are obvious before they occur.
At first, I loved seeing how loving this family is, something which we soon learn is completely far from the truth. The plot contains some moments which I found to be highly creative, and there’s a good atmosphere on-screen that makes Hatching feel unsettling and curious. The creature/monster in this film looks great and adds a nice touch to the creepy and odd atmosphere. The performance from Siiri Solalinna was impressive here, and she delivers a character who is quite shy and filled with fear, constantly trying to be good enough for her mother. Actress Sophia Heikkllä was also great and convincing as Tinja’s mother, and it’s very easy for audiences to dislike her character given her selfish and cruel nature.
While the film introduces a fun mystery surrounding Tinja and her creepy discovery, I am saddened to see how predictable the film was. There are attempts to be creative with the filming style, but as a result, the plot feels like it shows its hand to audiences far too early (before the halfway mark is even reached). For the most part, the pacing is fine, but I lost interest in the third act. This is again mostly due to the plot being extremely obvious with its reveals and what’s to come. The third act includes moments that either overstay their welcome and some moments feel unnecessary. For me, the final moments felt disappointing and unrewarding. Considering the journey this film takes movie lovers on, it lacks a tasteful conclusion, and at the end, I felt extremely flat as I was left with several unanswered questions.
Overall, Hatching presents a horrifying, fun film that sometimes feels unsettling and gross. The film has strong moments of creativity, including the design of the creature/monster. The top performances from Siiri Solalinna and Sophia Heikkllä were enjoyable and believable right from the start. While the film introduces something fun and mysterious, it becomes rather predictable as most reveals happen way too early. The third act is a weaker element after audiences have waited for what’s obvious to come, and the final moments feel unrewarding and somewhat vague.