Original title:Pahanhautoja
Director:Hanna Bergholm
Running time:87 minutes
Release date:29 april 2022
Tinja is 12 years old. Her mother pushes her to do gymnastics, exerting on her an unhealthy perfectionism. One night, the little girl discovers a very strange egg, which she hides, then incubates. Until a disturbing creature hatches...

Mulder's Review

"I made Hatching for fans of genre films and especially for all the adults who are afraid to watch horror films but want to see strong stories about the emotions of women and girls." - Hanna Bergholm

Winner of the Grand Prize and the Youth Jury Prize at the Gérardmer International Fantastic Film Festival, and after its run at the Sundance Film Festival, director Hanna Bergholm's first film will be released in France directly on video and in the U.S. with a limited theatrical release this month. A true cinematographic experiment, this film is at the same time a certain homage to David Cronenberg but also to the American films of Steven Spielberg (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Jurassic Park (1993)) without forgetting an obvious link with the film Gremlins (1984) of Joe Dante. These different sources of inspiration bring to this Finnish film a very special aura and allows the audience to be embarked in a horrific modern tale on strong themes such as family, abuse of social networks and motherhood.

Tinja (Siiri Solalinna) is a young 12-year-old gymnast who is desperate to please her image-obsessed mother to the point of having staged her life as a mother on social networks. Obsessed by appearances, this mother, under her calm and wise appearance, reveals herself to be a woman ready to leave her couple and her two children to start a new life with her lover. However, one day things take a strange direction when Tinja, after finding an injured bird in the woods, brings its strange egg home. She incubates it and cares for it with the same love a mother has for her child. As the egg grows larger and larger, and as it hatches into a strange creature that is as dangerous as it is unstable, Tinja gradually witnesses the transformation of this monster into an even more surprising creature. We won't say more to let the spectators appreciate this horrific film letting a new director worthy descendant of the great masters of horror shine. Such a film should please Stephen King by its will to incorporate little by little fantastic elements in a reality too beautiful to be real.

The scriptwriter Ilja Rautsi managed to transcend a simplistic story at first sight into a rather original and caricatured story about a family that seems to be close-knit and that will simply break up and face a creature worthy of those seen in Cronenberg's films (we will think in particular of those in the films Chromosome 3 (The Brood) and The Fly (1986)). The idea of transforming a creature initially in the shape of a prehistoric bird into an evil Doppelgänger is a way of addressing the idea of what a human being really is and his place in our society. The loss of reference points creates monsters that look human but are unable to distinguish between good and evil. The creature that takes the name of Alli seems to be the evil reflection of Tinja as it drags in its wake death and many victims. 

While we could expect from a Finnish film special effects not managing to be at the level of those of the American majors, the result here is also one of the undeniable strengths of this independent film. The creature is perfectly mastered and benefits from the presence of the animatronics supervisor, Gustav Hoegen, who has worked on several Star Wars films and will soon work on the highly anticipated Star Wars series Andor. As for the film's chief make-up artist, Conor O'Sullivan, he has worked on The Dark Knight (2008) and recently Morbius (2022) and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023).

Perfectly calibrated to please the many fans of original horror films, this film will also capture the attention of a wider audience ready to discover the best that Finnish cinema can give when in excellent hands. Hanna Bergholm is certainly a director we will not hear the last of.

Hatching (Pahanhautoja)
Directed by Hanna Bergholm
Produced by Mika Ritalahti, Nico Ritalahti, Nima Yousefi
Written by Ilja Rautsi
Starring Jani Volanen, Reino Nordin, Siiri Solalinna, Saija Lentonen, Sophia Heikkilä
Music by Stein Berge Svendsen
Cinematography : Jarkko T. Laine
Edited by Linda Jildmalm
Production company : Silva Mysterium Oy
Distributed by IFC Films (USA), The Joker Films (France)
Release date : April 26, 2022 (France), April 29, 2022 (United-States)
Running time : 87 minutes

Seen on April 23, 2022 (press screener)

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