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Finnish Hatching, from director Hanna Bergholm, is an engrossing and satirical film which plays out more like a in most aspects. I have been unable to stop thinking about the crazy family at the centre of the story and what on earth may have happened after this film, and also what exactly it meant, for days, and while an ambiguous ending can be frustrating this film gave enough in 90 minutes to keep me engrossed and satisfied.

After Mother (Sophia Heikkilä) snaps the neck of a crow which interrupted her filming for her family vlog, her gentle daughter Tinja (Siiri Solalinna) finds herself battling between following in her image-obsessed and cold mothers footsteps and being a compassionate 12-year-old. This leads her to save the orphaned egg of the crow, which hatches from her tears revealing a bizarre creature called Alli which Tinja begins to raise. When Alli starts protecting and mirroring her mother a bit too much, acting violently in response to Tinjas sorrow or anger, Tinja must figure out the right thing to do.

Coming-of-age has been explored before, Ginger Snaps, Raw, The Witch, and It Follows being notable examples, but there is something about this specific time in (usually a girl's) life which is compelling to depict in horror and leaves room for everyone to identify with some aspects of the protagonist's plight. We may not all have hatched monsters from eggs, but we have all experienced trouble with our families and the terror of pre-teen life.

This strife between members of the picture-perfect Finnish family is the crux of the film, taking precedence over the body horror, the threat of the monster (called Alli), and any suspense and violence. Only a couple of scenes play out how you would expect in a horror film, which are thoroughly eerie and gripping. The majority of the Hatching's setting being in colourfully wallpapered, picture-perfect rooms, neatly tended rose gardens, and brightly lit gymnastics halls keeps the true focus on the family, mostly the relationship between Tinja and her mother, who is only ever referred to by this title reflecting her detached attitude to her family. For both Tinja's parents, image is what matters, and when their spouse or children threaten this image anger takes over and harbours resentment among them all, including Alli now.

I did not miss the typical horror aspects this film glossed over, and the lack of CGI and hiding in the shadows of Alli was perfect. The design of Alli and her disturbing shedding and morphing was incredible and seeing the aftermath of the violence was chilling enough without drawn-out sequences of brutality. There was enough ambiguity to allow for interpretation, a balance coming-of-age films often fumble, and the performances of the leads were excellent conveying the veneer of how they present themselves and the vulnerability underneath at just the right moments. This is a thoroughly entertaining film to watch play out and the scathing depiction of what lies behind the lives we share online is, while maybe a bit on-the-nose, an interesting element to the film, and feels a good bit darker than other hyper-colourful films like Do Revenge and Edward Scissorhands.

Hatching is released on DVD, Blu-ray and Digitally on the 16th of January