The film industry is becoming more and more congested with films every year, from independent productions to big budget bonanzas, we are usually subjected to a litany of crap or middling releases. But we are forever determined to hunt out the diamonds in the rough, to find a film that flew under the radar but thoroughly deserves your attention. This time we bring to you Nina Forever.
Following the death of his girlfriend Nina (Fiona O’Shaughnessy), Rob (Cian Barry) is wallowing in a depressive suicidal state. That is until his fellow supermarket worker Holly (Abigail Hardingham) takes a fancy to him and his current situation. Motivated by mild fantasies about saving him from his sadness, Holly starts a relationship with Rob that blossoms quickly. However every time Holly and Rob get intimate, Nina comes back from the dead to interfere, tease and taunt the couple.
From directing brothers Ben and Chris Blaine, this ‘Fucked up Fairy Tale’ as the tagline reads is a remarkable and bizarrely captivating film that tours the attractions of human emotion. Love, loss, grief, and obsession are all rides that the film takes us on. From Robs inability to move on from his dead ex girlfriend to Holly’s love for both Rob and his state of being, the Blaine brothers weave an intricate tale about the complexities of coping with death. And how do they do it? By literally bringing Nina back from the dead, not as a ghost, not as a zombie, but as a fabled revenant that enters the mortal world when and where the couple are having sex.
In all honesty when you read or write that it sends daft, and executed poorly it would have been farcical. But by introducing the event of Nina coming back to life, and the characters acknowledging it as legitimately happening, the film is able to avoid the pitfalls of how and engage in the why. The first time Nina comes back itself plays like a warped bloody birthing sequence as she contorts out from the mattress and bed sheets, haunting Rob during his first time with another woman. The lingering shots used by the Blaine brothers capitalise on some really terrific acting by a young cast. Cian Barry does very well as the haunted Rob, so desperately trying to move on without letting go, however it is Abigail Hardingham (who can also be seen in season 2 of The Missing) who excels the most as his new lover Holly. Not only is Holly a new person coming into Robs life, but she is also eerily fascinated with trying to get Nina to move on which leads to some eye opening scenes.
Now as Nina comes back from the dead when Holly and Rob are having sex there is a fair share of nudity in the film, and had it not been for her disfigured bloody corpse spoiling the party it’s use would borderline gratuitous. Nina’s unwanted arrival ensures eroticism is sucked out those scenes, but much more has been achieved by showing much less. That being said the roles love and intimacy play in the film helps prevent it from feeling out of place. The story is methodically paced despite it’s 100 minute running time, and they refrain from exploiting the gag of Nina coming back so that every time it happens it is effective.
In the film there is horror, romance, and humour, but not once would I define Nina Forever as a romantic comedy nor a horror comedy. Nina Forever defies the usual labelling by superbly fusing a number genres together, and it tackles the themes of love after loss more sternly than similar films such as Life After Beth. It stands as a sublime independent British film that does not pander to conventional tropes, a unique voice in a saturated market.
At the time of writing, you can catch Nina Forever streaming on Amazon Prime. Watch it now!