Nina Forever is a macabre romance about what happens when old loves and old memories refuse to die. The film follows in the footsteps of other recent zombie love stories like Life After Beth and Burying the Ex. Unlike those films, Nina Forever is not a fun romantic comedy. It is a profound and painful journey through a relationship that is doomed to fail.
The film follows Holly, a young woman with an attraction to death. Her morbid fascination causes her to fall for Rob, a formerly suicidal man who is still grieving for his dead ex, Nina. Their relationship is great at first. However, when they hit the sheets, Nina comes between them… literally. In a grotesque scene worthy of David Cronenberg, Nina somehow grows like a plant from the bed. Of course Holly and Rob are stunned and terrified. Nina wastes no time accusing Rob of cheating on her. She then proceeds to berate Holly. Rob unsure of what to do, ends up doing nothing. His inaction results in Holly dashing out in anger. The next morning she returns prepared to tackle their little “Nina” situation.
The pair spend the rest of the film attempting to negotiate their relationship around Nina. First, Holly tries to make Nina part of their life together. She does this by getting Nina’s name tattooed on her and by including Nina in their sexual escapades. When that doesn’t work, they try ignoring her. Finally they try making peace with Nina’s death, but the presence of Nina is inescapable. Ultimately, Holly ends up being the one stuck with Nina, forever ending her relationship with Rob.
It’s hard to say for sure what exactly the message is behind Nina Forever, but a few things are clear. Nina represents the past that the characters can’t move on from. In Holly’s case, Nina represents an obsession with darkness. Nina herself insists throughout the movie that she doesn’t want to keep coming back. She wishes to remain dead. Nina’s existence ranges from painful to numb. The film doesn’t provide any clear cut answers, but it does raise some excellent questions. Do the living drag on the memory of the dead for our own benefit, rather than theirs? Can a person overcome their past, or will it always just keep popping up like Nina?
The actors are all superb. Cian Barry plays the brooding Rob well. His is not the most exciting role in the film, but his personality gives it a bit more edge than it might have otherwise. Barry has smoking hot chemistry with his co-star Abigail Hardingham who plays Holly. Hardingham stands out as the vulnerable young woman with many layers. She shines in every scene she’s in. Don’t be surprised if she starts showing up in more and more indie films. Finally, there’s Fiona O’Shaughnessy as Nina. With her captivating features, and unique voice O’Shaughnessy is the perfect Nina. She provides witty banter, all while being sexy in the most creepy way possible.
Another major score for Nina Forever is the music. “Nina” features music from indie rockers like Amanda Palmer and Minnesota band The Ladybrugs. The music contributes to the hip vibe of the overall film. It adds a layer of fun, to an otherwise sad movie.
Nina Forever is a love story for those who prefer their romance blood soaked rather than sugar coated. While perhaps not entirely cohesive, this film by Chris Blaine and Ben Blaine has plenty to offer. At its best, Nina Forever is an examination of what it means to be alive and in love. While it is not a scary film, the blood, the undead girlfriend, and the general weirdness more than solidify its place in the horror genre. Fans of these mumblegore films should keep their eyes peeled for the next Blaine brothers project.