November 21, 2016 The Hatching (Movie Review)
It has taken decades after the release of 1981’s John Landis classic An American Werewolf in London for Horror fans to feel safe on the moors. However, Horror Comedy The Hatching offers a whole new reason to be terrified of the English countryside. Released on VOD and DVD on March 15, 2016 via Lionsgate, co-written by Nick Squire and Director Michael Anderson, interestingly enough, Anderson worked on the aforementioned An American Werewolf in London as part of the crew. Marking the first film-writing credit for either filmmaker, the events of The Hatching take place in modern times, with most of the filming happening around London.
At the beginning of the tale, the viewer witnesses three young boys, Tim, Baghi, and Chavy break into the local Zoological gardens. After stealing three crocodile eggs, the alarm goes off and the boys are forced to flee. However, only Tim and Baghi make it out, Chavy is caught and killed by a crocodile. Fast forward to present day and that childhood event has left an indelible mark upon a grown up Tim (Andrew Lee Potts: Primeval TV series, By Any Means 2013). Upon the death of his father, Tim decides to move back to his home town of Somerset with his girlfriend Lucy (Laura Aikman: The Mysti Show TV series, Casualty TV series ). Tim is now also the sole owner of a large property and successful business, which employs many of the locals.
Upon Tim’s return his Uncle Stan (Justin Lee Collins: Children in Need TV series, Big Brother’s Bit on the Side TV series), is furious he did not inherit the mill over Tim. As Tim and Lucy settle into town, they discover a few people have disappeared lately. Regardless, Tim reconnects with Baghi (Muzz Khan: Me Before You 2016, Galavant TV series), who is now a father and starts working at the mill, and local girl Britney (Georgia Henshaw: Angus, Thongs and perfect Snogging 2008, Seamonsters 2011), is his secretary. Other locals such as Caesar (Thomas Turgoose: This is England 2006, Eden Lake 2008), Russell (Jack McMullen: Common 2014, The Works 2016), and his friend Lardy (Danny Kirrane: Automata 2014, Wasted 2016) – who is also Britney’s boyfriend, go about their daily business, which usually includes a bit of troublemaking.
One day Tim goes fishing on the lake in the quarry he owns with his family dog, Betty. He gets a bite on his line, but whatever is on it, is not an ordinary fish. It succeeds in dragging Tim across the lake and terrifying Betty, who runs away. Tim is intrigued about what it was and begins some internet research. He denies Russell and Lardy access to the lake, but they ignore him and go anyway. While smoking weed, they witness a massive crocodile kill a sheep and run back to town to tell everyone else, who do not believe them. However, when more people go missing and the occasional body parts are found on the bank, the locals have no choice to believe Russell and Lardy’s story.
They begin to hunt the crocodile, and a few people put two and two together and recall the event from Tim’s past. As Tim cannot discount the croc may have come from one of the eggs he and Baghi stole, he becomes a town pariah. Russell and Lardy somehow manage to kill the crocodile and bring it to town as proof. Everyone is excited that their troubles are over, little do they know, they have only just began and about to get a whole lot worse. Despite the crocodile being dead, people are still being attacked and killed. Tim and Lucy discover a horrific secret that has been underlying the town for decades, but will they live to tell anyone else?
Overall, The Hatching is a quirky, funny, and unique story. It is well-acted with a tight script and dialogue, which pulls the viewer in from the start. There are a few slow scenes towards the middle of the movie which drag the pace, but the rest are outstanding and keep the viewer on the edge of their seat. Imagine an English version of 1999’s Lake Placid, with plenty of twists and turns no one will see coming.
As a debut film, The Hatching is impressive and shows great promise for Anderson and Squire’s futures. The special effects are seamless and the cinematography by Gerry Vasbenter (Lord of the Rings series), captures the bleak, wet atmosphere of the English moors and life in a small town. Overall a great watch, highly amusing, and enjoyable, CrypticRock gives The Hatching 4 out of 5 stars.