“Are you my mother?,” asked the demon bird.
“Hatching” begins with “the perfect family” promoting themselves on social media about how wonderful their lives are. The daughter resembles her mother, while the son resembles his father; so they’re supposed to look picture perfect. Then comes in a crow, who makes some trouble by breaking their fancy glassware. And finally, while the daughter catches it with a blanket and decides to set it free, the mother snaps its neck and makes her throw it in the “organic waste” bin.
That same daughter named Tinja (Siiri Solalinna) finds an injured crow in the woods, and puts it out of its misery by smashing it with a rock. And finally, she finds its egg, and decides to take it home to raise it.
Is it just me or is that egg growing bigger? Oh yeah, it’s growing bigger and bigger-almost like a dinosaur egg or maybe bigger than that. I don’t know. All I do know is that she now has a giant baby demon bird to take care of with the name Alli. And what wouldn’t be a creature without evolution?
“Hatching” is also a Finnish horror import, and one of the many examples (“The Babadook,” “Antlers,” etc.) about how independent horror films take more risks than the commercial ones do. Even on a small budget (released by IFC Midnight), no expenses are spared to make the demons look more realistic than how Warner Bros would produce them. And it also shows us that humans can also be demonic as well.
“What do I mean?,” you’re asking.
The mother (Sophia Heikkila) pushes her daughter into competing in the gymnastics competition. “Pushes her” is putting it mildly; she actually pressures her into competing. And when she senses that Tinja is stressed out, she assures her that she can relax by “winning the competition.” Very nice.
In summation, we have two monsters to deal with. The bird and the mother. It’s hard to determine who’s the more evil one, but the results are complex and provocative.
The mother cheats on her husband (Jani Volanen) with a handyman named Tero (Reino Nordin), and Tinja knows about it. To relax her mind, she takes Tinja to live with him for the weekend. Tero is nicer than the mother, and he tries to connect with the girl. But the creature can causes such circumstances.
“Hatching” has to be formulaic with the little brother Matias (Oiva Ollila) dealing with the little brother cliches. He has to see a demon at night, and be told by the mother that he’s having a nightmare, and ask if she got him something on “her trip.” That’s typical stuff.
But aside from that, “Hatching” is an interesting and artful picture with some fine performances from Solalinna, Heikkila, and Nordin, some impressive creature effects, and its own distinction on good and evil. Director Hanna Bergholm and writer Ilja Rautsi both want to make that clear.
Earlier this year, I saw “Turning Red,” which was about a girl trying to appease her mother, and now “Hatching” has that same plot. But unlike the mother in “Turning Red,” we hate this mother the minute she snapped that crow’s neck, and how he pressures her daughter into practicing and competing.
The parts we’re mostly curious about is how the girl hatches the egg, and raises it as her own. There’s a certain kind of connection between them, and I’m saying it in both senses, but I can’t really say how. You have to see this Finnish horror import for yourself. And you should also see, if you have the stomach, how it pushes itself to the very limit. It’s almost like if “Fly Away Home” was a horror film from a parallel universe.