Reviews | Written by JAMES "MAGIC" PERKINS 18/09/2022

HATCHING (PAHANHAUTOJA)

After a young Finnish girl finds an egg and raises the mysterious creature that hatches from within, strange things begin to happen, figuratively and literally in Hanna Bergholm's striking and powerful body horror feature debut, Hatching.

In recent years, body horror has seen a resurgence with new auteur filmmakers such as Julia Ducournau and Ali Abbasi rocketing onto the scene with RAW and Border respectively. We can add Hannah Bergholm to this prestigious list as she has crafted something quite remarkable with help from writer Ilja Rautsi.

Tinja (Siiri Solalinna), a young gymnast, seemingly lives a perfect life with her family. Her mother (Sophia Heikkilä), a lifestyle blogger, along with her father and brother Matias all get along on camera - but it's a different story offline. Mother is hard on Tinja and pushes her to be the best in gymnastics even though it's clear she doesn't enjoy it. When she finds an abandoned egg that grows into a monstrous bird creature, her true emotions and feelings come out in a devastating fashion.

The most successful stories in film are those that the audience can connect to and although this may not seem the case on paper for Hatching, this narrative and the characters within are so raw, real and relatable which in turn elevates and empowers the visceral nature of the body horror. The effects are stunning with a high percentage being practical which is much more effective in this sort of personal story. We all share dark emotions that we try to keep hidden as nothing in life is perfect.

With a sensational lead performance from young Siiri Solalinna, Hatching is a tour de force of a debut from Bergholm cementing her as one to watch. Thought-provoking, powerful and visceral - this film is a must-see.

Hatching is out now in select UK cinemas.