Hatching is a 2022 Finnish body horror film directed by Hanna Bergholm and written by Ilja Rautsi. The film stars Jani Volanen, Reino Nordin, Saija Lentonen, Siiri Solalinna and Sophia Heikkilä and follows the story of 12-year-old Tinja and her mother, who has set high expectations for her which pressures Tinja. One day, Tinja finds an egg and secretly takes care of it until it unexpectedly hatches into her doppelganger. The film won the Grand Prix and the Prix du Jury Jeunes at the Festival international du film fantastique de Gérardmer 2022. The film has received generally positive reviews so far, and in an article by Variety, they praised the film’s take on body horror saying, “One could instead think of it as the weird lovechild of “American Beauty” and a grotesque version of “E.T.,” with the uncanny touch of Yorgos Lanthimos. Even this comparison feels incomplete in defining Bergholm’s directorial debut, a wicked foray into youthful anxieties that is admitted short on genuine scares, but full of delicious squirms and cringes through Bergholm’s skillful play with body horror and doppelgänger tropes.” Aside from the monstrous horror in the film, it also involves deeper themes about parenting, adolescence, and self-worth. If you enjoyed this kind of genre and you’re in for some scare with emotional elements, here are five of our recommended movies to watch when you’re done with Hatching.
Just like the protagonist in Hatching who is in a highly competitive world of gymnasts, the 2010 American psychological thriller film Black Swan features the competitive world of ballet. The film was directed by Darren Aronofsky from a screenplay by Mark Heyman, John McLaughlin, and Andres Heinz, based on a story by Heinz, and stars Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, and Winona Ryder. The plot centers on ballet dancer Nina Sayers, played by Natalie Portman, as she competes for the lead role of the New York City Ballet company’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Nina struggles with the pressure and competition which leads to her dark side emerging. The film has received positive reviews from critics, especially for the performances. Natalie Portman won Best Actress in the Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards and received five nominations at the 83rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and four nominations at the 68th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Drama. In a review by The Guardian, they wrote, “Black Swan is ionospherically over the top, and some of its effects are overdone, but it is richly, sensually enjoyable and there is such fascination in seeing Portman surrender to the madness and watch her face transmute into a horror-mask like a nightmare version of Maria Callas. It is exciting, quite mad and often really scary.”
Another film that centers on the relationship of a mother and daughter is the 2021 British horror film A Banquet, directed by Ruth Paxton and written by Justin Bull, and stars Sienna Guillory, Jessica Alexander, and Ruby Stokes. The film follows the story of recently widowed Holly and her three daughters. It centers on her daughter Betsey who after a mysterious encounter refuses to eat but stays the same weight and insists that her body is now a vessel for a supernatural being. Just like Hatching, the film delves into family dynamics and the use of body horror. In a film review by Los Angeles Times, they praised the performances of the actors saying, “A Banquet” is well acted and well crafted and should resonate with viewers who have had experiences similar to those of the movie’s perpetually anxious mother.”
The Djinn is a 2021 American supernatural horror film directed and written by David Charbonier and Justin Powell. The film stars Ezra Dewey, Rob Brownstein, Tevy Poe, and John Erickson and centers on a mute boy who makes a wish after finding a mysterious book in their new apartment but finds himself surviving the night alone with a lurking monster. The plot is guided by the premise of being careful about what you wish for, but as New York Times wrote in their film review, “The directors, David Charbonier and Justin Powell, take a simple, overused premise and put a genuinely fresh and terrifying spin on it by giving the demon corporeal form. The fleshy, bloody violence unexpectedly turns this haunted-house horror into a home invasion horror.” Similar to Hatching, the film focuses on the child’s fears and deep emotions that relate to the monster he encounters.
Antlers is a 2021 supernatural horror film directed by Scott Cooper, and stars Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T. Thomas, Graham Greene, Scott Haze, Rory Cochrane, and Amy Madigan from a screenplay by C. Henry Chaisson, Nick Antosca, and Cooper, and adapted from Antosca’s short story “The Quiet Boy”. The film follows a school teacher who begins to suspect that his student Aiden is having problems at home because of his recent behaviors. Determined to help Aiden, she discovers a dark secret in the child’s home. The film has received mixed reviews and in a review by the Empire, they wrote, “There’s a Kingian flavour to this story of kids, corruption and Native American mythology in small-town America – which, combined with Cooper’s assured filmmaking and sharing del Toro’s sympathetic supernatural sensibilities, makes for a worthy balance of beastliness and bleak humanity.”
Another film that explores adolescence and a mother-daughter relationship through the horror genre is the classic 1976 American supernatural horror film Carrie, directed by Brian De Palma from a screenplay written by Lawrence D. Cohen, and adapted from Stephen King’s novel of the same name. The film stars Sissy Spacek as the titular character Carrie alongside Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, Nancy Allen, William Katt, P. J. Soles, Betty Buckley, and John Travolta in supporting roles. The film follows awkward and shy 16-year-old Carrie White who is bullied at school and lives with her protective and religious mother. As Carrie grapples with her difficult school and family life, she discovers she has telekinesis ability. When asked to prom by a nice boy in school, she insists to go despite her mother’s disapproval and prom night takes a dark turn because of a prank set by her classmates which will become the most famous prom scene in film history. The film has received positive reviews and was a commercial success. It received two nominations at the 49th Academy Awards including Best Actress (for Spacek) and Best Supporting Actress (for Laurie). In a film review by The New Yorker, they wrote, “Carrie” is a terrifyingly lyrical thriller. The director, Brian De Palma, has mastered a teasing style—a perverse mixture of comedy and horror and tension, like that of Hitchcock or Polanski, but with a lulling sensuousness. He builds our apprehensions languorously, softening us for the kill.”Stephen King