Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

"The science itself is sensibly vague and presented in an overblown way which will please B-movie fans."

At the most basic level, it's difficult for a filmmaker to go wrong with dinosaurs. They're big, they're fierce, they smash up the scenery with their tails and munch on characters with their sharp, pointy teeth. Now that CGI technology is becoming more affordable, they're an ideal choice for B-movies. It is, however, very easy to go wrong with dinosaurs as a scientist in one of these movies. Jurassic Park has shown us how easily recreating them from ancient DNA can go awry even with high end tech and security systems in place so, um, don't try this at home, kids.

Simon (Thomas Loone) has tried it at home. By the time the main plot of this film gets going, he and his wife are already dead. Their young son Mark (Marshall Hawkes, the only actor here to make his character feel like a real person) has somehow survived and is relieved when his grandparents and two aunts come to visit, but unfortunately for him, they are not the most competent of rescuers. Within five minutes they have managed to let a full-grown T-Rex sneak up on them. Things only get worse from there.

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Director Scott Jeffrey, who also produced the conceptually more interesting but equally ridiculous Dinosaur Hotel, uses the same dinosaurs here but has notably improved his technique. They actually look pretty good in still shots, and some of their movements work decently. Interactions with human characters are not as impressive but as a lot of the kills are offscreen, with camera on other characters' reactions, this isn't a big problem. After a little while, though, you'll notice that we keep seeing shots of dinosaurs which we've seen before, and there isn't enough dinosaur action to keep the film gong in its later stages.

That there is a heavy debt to Jurassic Park here is only to be expected. The film cribs at least as much from Deep Blue Sea, with rapidly growing monsters and a scientist who is motivated by the desire to save a loved one. The science itself is sensibly vague and presented in an overblown way which will please B-movie fans. In the early stages of the film, as secrets are emerging, and in the second act, when the (remarkably useless) military get involved, there's a fair amount to enjoy, but unfortunately the film falls apart towards the end. The last 25 minutes are basically just characters running about and screaming, and as we haven't really got to know them, it's hard to care. Rather than ramping up the excitement, it gets very dull.

The biggest problem with Hatched is that it doesn't have much personality of its own. It's a throwaway piece of dinosaur fluff which is fine if you like that sort of thing, but there are dozens of other films which can satisfy the same urge. It won't make you wish for an asteroid to strike but it will make you root for evolution to produce better quality creature features.

Reviewed on: 01 Jul 2021
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A scientist's experiments with breeding dinosaurs get out of hand.
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Director: Scott Jeffrey, Rebecca Matthews

Writer: Craig McLearie

Starring: Nicola Wright, Amanda-Jade Tyler, Derek Nelson, Megan Purvis, Georgie Banks

Year: 2021

Runtime: 80 minutes

Country: UK


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