Sponsor

IFI Horrorthon 2015 Review - NINA FOREVER

A grieving young man begins a new relationship, only for his dead girlfriend to show up.


Review by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)

Directed by: Ben Blaine, Chris Blaine

Starring: Fiona O'Shaughnessy, Abigail Hardingham, Cian Barry, David Troughton, Elizabeth Elvin


"When the titular Nina isn't on screen, Ben and Chris Blaine's movie is a touching examination of grief and the healing process, with some great performances, particularly that of Hardingham, who plays the ungainly teen bit immaculately."





In the world of horror movies, the return of a loved one from beyond the grave always spells trouble. In American Werewolf In London, David Naughton was getting on just fine, hooking up with Jenny Agutter's sexy nurse, until his dead friend Griffin Dunne showed up to start guilt-tripping him and warning of his inevitable turn to the hairy side. The Stephen King adaptation, Pet Sematary, saw Dale Midkiff's grieving father use the titular graveyard to bring his dead son back, but the boy..., well he wasn't quite himself. Joe Dante's latest movie, Burying the Ex, which has yet to receive a release in these parts, mines the scenario for comedy, as Anton Yelchin's burgeoning relationship with Alexandra Daddario is interrupted by the return of his dead girlfriend, who intends to continue their courtship.
The British production Nina Forever employs practically the exact same premise as Dante's film, though accusations of plagiarism are unfounded given how close both production dates are. While I haven't seen Burying the Ex, trailers suggest it plays the scenario in a far broader manner than Nina Forever, which is essentially a straight drama about the grieving process interrupted occasionally by some awkward and misjudged comedy.
Holly (Abigail Hardingham) is a shy 19 year old working in a supermarket while studying to be a paramedic. She falls for co-worker Rob (Cian Barry), a survivor of a botched suicide attempt following the death of his girlfriend. The two bond in the stock room and agree to date, but their first roll in the hay is cut short however when Rob's dead ex, Nina (Fiona O'Shaughnessy), materialises from the sheets - and she's not too happy to see her boyfriend move on with his life. As Rob and Holly continue to see each other, they struggle to find a way to accommodate this third party.
When the titular Nina isn't on screen, Ben and Chris Blaine's movie is a touching examination of grief and the healing process, with some great performances, particularly that of Hardingham, who plays the ungainly teen bit immaculately. The best scenes feature Nina's parents (David Troughton and Elizabeth Elvin), who have remained friends with Rob, and Troughton's emotional breakdown in a restaurant is one of the year's most effectively uncomfortable moments.
It's the scenes with the bloodied, revived corpse of Nina that unfortunately derail Nina Forever.  These moments are so tonally disparate from the rest of the movie that it feels like we're watching a VHS that someone has randomly taped over with scenes from another film. Nina is given nothing of interest to do - she merely shows up and stains the sheets. Cut out this subplot and you'd have one of the year's most effecting and well performed dramas.
While they struggle with their film's central hook, the Blaine's do some really interesting visual work in their feature debut. An early meeting between Holly and Rob takes place on a busy motorway, and with his death wish still intact, Rob defies the onrush of traffic to walk across the busy lanes. Afraid to follow him over, we see Holly's feet anxiously wait on the kerb. This image is then reversed when Holly takes Rob back to her apartment, his naked feet initially reluctant to cross a metaphorical motorway this time. It's a shame Nina Forever doesn't quite work, but this is a filmmaking duo I expect great work from in the future.
Share this post




discussion by