Director – Hanna Bergholm, Screenplay – Ilja Rautsi, Story – Hanna Bergholm & Ilja Rautsi, Producers – Mika Ritalahti, Nike Ritalahti & Nima Yousefi, Photography – Jarkko T. Laine, Music – Stein Berge Svendsen, Visual Effects – Umedia Visual Effects (Supervisor – Bert Deruyck), Creature Effects Supervisor – Gustav Hoegen, Makeup Effects Supervisor – Conor O’Sullivan, Production Design – Paivi Kettunen. Production Company – Silva Mysterium/Hobab/UMedia/Film I Vast/Evil Doghouse.
The adolescent Tinja is pushed by her mother to achieve in gymnastics at school and be selected for a competition. A bird strikes the window of their house and is wounded. Tinja brings it to her mother who snaps its neck and then asks Trina to dispose of it in the garbage. Later, Tinja finds the bird alive in the woods and kills it but finds it has left an egg. She brings the egg home and tends it. The egg then hatches, producing an ugly, skeletal bird-like creature about the size of a dog. Tinja hides the creature in the house, naming it Alli. However, Alli kills the neighbour’s dog and attacks people. Tinja has increasing difficulty keeping Alli under control and hidden from others. At the same time, Alli starts to become more human.
Hatching – not related or to be confused with the British killer crocodile film The Hatching (2016) – was a feature-length directorial debut for Finnish director Hanna Bergholm. The film played at a number of international film festivals.
You could almost look upon Hatching as being E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) reconceived as a horror movie. Both films have the same essential plot where a kid on the cusp of puberty adopts a non-human creature and hides it in the closet away from the rest of their family. Hatching then proceeds to go in far more twisted versions than the whole “E.T. phone home” plot but there is also the same theme where the creature develops an empathic connection with the human and either feels what affects the other.
There is something quite eerie to the effects that go into the creation of Alli – a large, ugly skeletal bird as big as a medium-sized dog. There is a great fascination to watching it and Siiri Solalinna bond and she come to protect it. At the same, these scenes have an undertow – the neighbour’s dead dog found in the bed – where you just know that something terrible is going to happen and sit waiting through each scene with an impending sense of dread waiting for it to do so.
The film gets excellent performances from its two leading women. Young Siiri Solalinna is amazing in her rapport with the creature and then also as she plays a cold and inhuman version of herself as the creature starts to transform into a Doppelganger. Also very good is Sophia Heikkila as her mother in a performance where behind her determined perfectionism you can see where she is trying to push Siiri to achieve the sporting career that she missed out on. Reina Nordin offers surprising sympathy in a brief role as the man Sophia moves in with.