The Finnish supernatural horror film “Hatching” begins with an interesting premise, but it ultimately stops short of delivering much effect. It portrays a twelve-year-old girl as she struggles to hide a monstrous secret that she has been keeping for some time, and then the plot hatches into a full-fledged show of gore and horror. Despite good acting performances and commendable special effects, “Hatching” ultimately turns out shallower than intended, and is a mediocre watch at its best.
‘Hatching’ Plot Summary
Twelve-year-old Tinja lives with her loving family, consisting of her mother, father, and younger brother, Matias, in their lavish, beautifully decorated house. Her mother works as an internet influencer, running a video blog on their personal lifestyle, shooting whatever they do every day. One morning, as the mother huddles everyone on the sofa to shoot a part of a video showing the love and affection in the family, a loud thud on the window interrupts them. As Tinja opens the window to check what is wrong, an injured crow flies into the house and then flies about, crashing into things and wrecking the drawing-room. After countless glass objects have already been broken, Tinja manages to get hold of it by putting a towel around it and wants to let it fly away outside. Her mother interrupts the girl, though, and asks her to bring the towel to her, and when Tinja does so, the young girl is shocked to see her mother twist its neck and kill the bird. The girl is then asked to place the dead crow outside in their organic trash can, and she follows her mother’s words. That night, she wakes up to loud cawing coming from outside her house, and when she goes to check, she finds the crow missing from the trash can. Tinja follows the sound into a nearby forest, and soon finds a fatally injured crow lying on the ground, possibly the same bird from before. Unable to think of any other solution, she stones the bird to death in order to relieve it of its pain. She then sees a single egg lying just by the dead crow, and decides to help it and brings it home with her.
Young Tinja is also a gymnast, practicing very hard at her school in order to participate in an upcoming gymnastics competition. She does not have many friends at school, owing to her shy nature and also, presumably, her busy schedule with school and practice sessions. The girl is delighted to befriend another girl of her age, Reetta, who has recently moved into their neighborhood, and is also drawn to her pet dog. Soon it is revealed that Reetta is also a gymnast, and is much better at it than Tinja, which immediately annoys the mother. Tinja’s participation in gymnastics is heavily forced upon her by her mother, who herself used to be a figure skater at one time, and she also looks for content for her videos in her daughter’s being a gymnast. One afternoon, after returning home from school, the girl sees her mother with another man at their house and is confused by it. Her mother introduces him as Tero, and later she confesses and explains how the man is her lover; but this, as well as her father’s aloofness, confuses Tinja all the more. Meanwhile, the egg she had brought keeps growing in her room, where she has been incubating it inside her teddy bear. The egg keeps growing abnormally large, though, until one day when cracks appear on it.
What is the creature that comes out of the egg? What does Tinja do with it?
Tinja is equally scared and shocked to see the ugly monstrosity that hatches out of the egg—it looks like a baby bird but is much larger than it, with big terrifying eyes, a pair of strong legs and hands with claws, and some scattered hair over it. The creature screeches like any other baby bird, and it flees out of the window when Tinja’s father enters her room to investigate the noise. It returns the next night, though, and Tinja, this time, helps it by pulling out a shard of glass stuck in its hand. She realizes that the creature believes her to be its mother, and she too starts to care for it, by giving it a bath and singing a lullaby for it. But the bird is clearly too strange to be normal, and it soon brings Tinja, her neighbor’s pet dog, with its head decapitated. Seeing the corpse, the girl throws up on the floor, and the bird immediately eats it up. Realizing that she will have to feed it just like mother birds feed their hatchlings, Tinja buys bird seeds the next day, chews them up herself, and vomits it out of her mouth to feed her companion. She continues to nurture it, even dressing it up in her clothes and also naming it Alli, after an orphan character in the lullaby she sings. Alli scares Matias and the mother one night, with the former thinking that it is Tinja crawling around, as it wears her clothes. As the gymnastic competition draws closer, Tinja and her mother offer Reetta a ride back home from school one day, but she turns them down, saying that she likes walking home. While the mother and daughter drive in their car, Tinja feels something strange and sinister happening elsewhere, and expresses her concern to her mother. Reetta is seen walking through a desolate road where she is fatally attacked by Alli, who now looks somewhat like Tinja, as there is no beak on its face but instead an open gap where a mouth should have been. Tinja’s mother plays down her concerns, saying that she is stressed due to the upcoming competition, but the young girl knows something is wrong when she finds Alli’s detached beak lying inside her room.
The next morning, Tinja’s mother suggests taking her to Tero’s house for the weekend, and Tinja’s father also supports the plan, saying that Tero is a nice person, much to the surprise and perhaps disappointment of the girl. The two drive over to Tero’s house, where the man is revealed to be a widower whose wife had passed away during childbirth, and he now lives alone with his baby daughter Helmi. That night, Alli follows Tinja to her new room, and the creature now has flesh growing over its empty mouth, along with visible human teeth in its mouth. Tinja tries to calm the creature down and consoles it as if consoling herself about the strange nature of her parent’s marriage, but Alli goes back to her violent self when she tries to attack Tero the next morning. Tero, who had just been very nice to Tinja, telling her that being the best at everything should not always be the intention of life, also thinks that the girl has some psychological problems and lets it pass. Soon, Tinja’s mother arrives to take her to the gymnastics competition, but the girl is scared to leave Tero alone with baby Helmi, as she knows for certain that Alli would attack them. This is exactly what happens when Tinja is about to perform her gymnastic moves in the competition; she can mentally see the monster, who now looks almost exactly like herself, about to attack Helmi with an ax. In order to stop it, she drops herself on the ground, landing on her arm, as she had realized that the pains suffered by the two were felt by each other. The plan works, as Alli shrieks out in pain and the ax drops from its hand. The noise alarms Tero, and he rushes to the room to save his daughter from any harm and sees Alli jump out of the window.
When Tinja and her mother return to Tero’s house, he refuses to let them enter, saying that he had seen Tinja about to kill his daughter. When her mother tries to convince him that she was with her all the while, Tero dismisses her too, and refuses to let her stay any longer. As Tinja tries to apologize to her mother inside their car, the latter has a terrible burst of anger and frustration, as she incessantly bangs her head on the steering wheel while screaming very loudly. Blood soon starts to trickle down her injured nose, but she takes no notice of it and expresses her disappointment in Tinja very cruelly to the young girl. The two then drive back to their home, where the mother greets her father and brother as lovingly as in her videos, pretending as if nothing had happened.
‘Hatching’ ending explained: What does the last scene mean?
As the mother tries shooting a video inside her room pretending to be all happy and cheerful, she finds Alli in her room, who looks exactly like Tinja now, and tries to comb her hair, hurting it in the process. Alli immediately attacks the mother and is about to kill her when Tinja intervenes and reprimands the creature with her words, which makes it run away from the room. Tinja then explains everything to her mother, who now supports and consoles her daughter, saying that everything will get back to being normal. The two set out in search of the monster inside their house, with knives in their hands, and also inform the father and Matias about it. Finally, they are able to corner Alli inside Tinja’s room, and the mother once again wants to repeat her actions from earlier—she wants to stab Alli to death. Tinja tries to stop her mother, and then comes in the way of her swinging knife, which stabs Tinja in the chest. As both daughter and mother cry in shock and fear, young Tinja falls down with blood coughing out of her mouth. This blood falls into the open mouth of Alli, whose cheeks have now been torn apart to again create a big gap instead of a human mouth, and something seems to happen to it. As the three members of the family watch with shock, the gap on the creature’s face fills up with flesh, and its eyes turn to ones like Tinja’s, and it now utters the word “mother.” The mother looks up at it to see her daughter Tinja staring at her, with some wound marks around her mouth and lips, suggesting that Alli’s transformation into Tinja is now complete.
“Hatching” seems to be built upon the idea of the pretensions that people put up in the modern age of social media. The mother, as seen in the film, pretends like her life, marriage, and surroundings are the best that they could be, but she is tremendously frail and monstrous inside her own mind. She does not hesitate to kill beings who have unknowingly brought some wreckage to her life and also shouts at her own daughter when she is unable to do things as she had planned. On the other hand, Tinja’s dark, suppressed wishes and desires cannot remain bottled up inside her, and instead are all expressed through the creature she names Alli. All the people that Alli hurts, or tries to hurt, are ones that Tinja’s inner conscience has reasons to want to harm. She is jealous and irritated with Matias, who often throws tantrums and causes inconvenience to her and her parents. She is jealous of Reetta because of her superb skills in gymnastics, and of baby Helmi because of her mother’s illegitimate (in her eyes) attention towards her. Although Tero supports Tinja, the fact that he is the one who might cause her parents to ultimately break up makes Alli attack him. Even Reetta’s pet dog might have been killed by Alli because it had bitten Tinja at the beginning of the film. Unlike the grown-up adults around her, Tinja is unable to suppress all these feelings behind a smiling face, and they all come out through physical manifestations. Finally, when Alli’s metamorphosis into Tinja is complete at the end, it perhaps suggests that Tinja has now learned to fake and pretend feelings to show to the world, just like the adults in her family. In this sense, “Hatching” becomes a tale of a pre-teen girl dangerously learning to mentally pretend and suppress feelings during the same time she is about to start developing into a woman physically too.
“Hatching” is a 2022 Drama Horror film directed by Hanna Bergholm.