The horror genre has time and time again proven itself a potent vessel through which to examine familial anxieties, so here we have the unapologetically splashy stylings of Finnish filmmaker Hanna Bergholm’s feature debut Hatching.
Tinja (Siiri Solalinna) is a lonely young gymnast who has to contend with her mother’s (Sophia Heikkilä) obnoxious commitment to chronicling the family’s “idyllic” day-to-day life for her popular blog, and the inattention of her passive father (Jani Volanen).
Everything changes, however, when Tinja discovers a wounded bird in the nearby woods, and after mercy-killing it with a rock, spots a single egg in the bird’s nest. Tinja brings the egg home and surreptitiously nurtures it, before one of her tears splashes onto the egg shell and seemingly kickstarts an uncanny transformation. The resulting hatched creature, Alli, becomes the object of Tinja’s own maternal instincts, the implications of which quickly become horrifyingly twisted.
This is an at-once amusing and grotesque film that splits the difference between a bodily fluids-splashed horror romp and provocative satire of family rituals and motherhood. From its opening moments, Tinja’s home life appears to be a soul-crushing suburban nightmare, herself and her asshole brother basically bred as little facsimiles of their parents to be shown off on social media.