After his girlfriend Nina dies in a car crash, Rob unsuccessfully attempts suicide. As he begins to overcome his grief, he falls in love with a coworker, Holly. Their relationship is complicated when Nina, unable to find rest in the afterlife, comes back to life to sarcastically torment them whenever they have sex.
The subject of death is always a touchy and frightening subject to tackle. In horror films, death is usually just used as a way to help shock the audience and it’s supposed to. It’s a very rare instance to find a horror film that presents death, not only in a very real and depressing manner, but also in a way we may have never seen before. When I came across the film NINA FOREVER, I was expecting a silly little film, maybe something along the lines of BURYING THE EX. Instead, I found a film far more mature and dark than the Joe Dante directed EX. The directing duo of brothers Ben and Chris Blaine have come out from nowhere to bring this beautiful and depressing experience, one I wasn’t really ready to digest. It’s not quite like anything I had seen before but I have a feeling these guys are going to continue to bring us unique cinema and NINA FOREVER is just the beginning.
Rob (Cian Barry) is lost after the death of his girlfriend Nina (Fiona O’Shaughnessy). So lost he’s become disconnected and ready to take his own life. He makes an attempt to end his life while riding a motorcycle and crashing it in they same place she lost her life. His attempt isn’t successful so he’s basically come to the conclusion he will spend the rest of his life alone. That is, until he meets Holly (Abigail Hardingham), a college student studying to be an EMS worker.
The two quickly fall for one another and everything seems great. The sexual tension has built to an unbearable level and the time has finally come to give in to their urges. Things are hot and steamy until something happens to interrupt them, Nina. She literally manifests in the bed, a bloody mess. Rob seems to think that since she has died, they are no longer together except his tattoo says otherwise: Nina Forever. After the initial shock, Holly tries to embrace it, to make Nina a part of their lives. It doesn’t work out when it becomes apparent Nina wants Rob for herself. Holly will have to look deep within herself to find out if she can defeat the monstrosity keeping her from true happiness.
NINA FOREVER could have easily ended up being just another horror film but it far transcends the genre by dealing with the subject of loss in a very real manner. And as much as the film is about loss, it’s also about letting go or the inability to let go. The character of Rob is still very much a presence in the life of Nina’s parents. While their intentions may be good, helping each other through the loss of a loved one, the fact of the matter is they are doing more damage than good. It’s a heartbreaking experience and is given a very serious look and Nina’s presence only helps to accentuate it.
The success of the film is partly due to the smart script and confident directing of the Blaines but it’s the cast that is completely outstanding. Cian Barry delivers a very grounded and real performance. The way he copes feels very much true to life. Fiona O’Shaughnessy is delightfully sassy and wicked. Abigail Hardingham really goes the extra mile here. Seeing her transformation is truly something to behold.
NINA FOREVER is more than a horror film, it’s smart, witty, and most of all it’s haunting. Ben and Chris Blaine have very strong and distinct voices. If they plan to stay within the genre, it will only benefit us, the horror fans, the ones who appreciate original horror. It’s a very unique experience and one we may never have again. This is a film that could easily be overlooked in the shuffle, be sure not to miss NINA FOREVER. The performances alone will give you goosebumps and I’m willing to bet you will see these actors being nominated for numerous awards. ***** (out of 5)