NINA FOREVER

PrintE-mail Written by Iain Robertson

Nina Forever, the impressive debut feature from brothers Ben and Chris Blaine, offers an intriguing twist on an old story – boy meets girl, girl meets boy, boy’s dead former girlfriend creepily reappears every time things start getting hot and sweaty. As a passion killer, it’s up there with David Cameron’s face popping into your head at an inopportune moment.

When we first meet him, Rob (Cian Barry) is suicidal following the accidental death of his girlfriend, Nina. His dark nature attracts the attention of Holly (Abigail Hardingham), a young co-worker, and the two begin an intense relationship. Things are going swimmingly until the pair first sleep together, at which point they’re rather rudely interrupted by the reappearance of Nina, whose bloody reanimated corpse appears in the bed with them.

The resurrected Nina (Fiona O'Shaughnessy), still carrying the physical trauma of her fatal car crash, is understandably not too pleased to find her – to her mind at least – boyfriend in bed with another, younger woman, and proceeds to make her displeasure unknown.

Rather than being overtly menacing towards the couple, Nina’s fully aware that her mere presence may be enough to drive a wedge between the two. For the most part she’s more spurned woman than horror villain, albeit one who’s dead, naked, bloody, and bearing the signs of trauma from the car crash that killed her.

Nina Forever has been compared, favourably to Clive Barker, and it’s a fair comparison. The combination of sex and horror juxtaposed with the urban mundanity of Rob and Holly’s everyday lives wouldn’t feel out of place in the author’s Books of Blood.

Like science fiction, the horror genre works well as a prism to examine facets of human nature. Using supernatural elements allows filmmakers and writers to examine issues from angles that would be impossible for those telling a story from a conventional perspective. With Nina Forever, the Blaine brothers have taken the genre and used it to take a unique look at the grief process. Whilst we’re all haunted by those we’ve lost, in Rob and Holly’s case it becomes a literal truth.

Of the three leads, O'Shaughnessy, who starred in Channel 4’s Utopia is the most high profile, and she adds depth to what could easily be an unsympathetic character. But it’s relative newcomer Abigail Hardingham, as Holly, who most impresses. Her’s is a demanding role, as a young woman determined to make her relationship work against impossible odds, and her performance marks has as one to watch.

Partly funded by Kickstarter, the low-budget film is a curious, hard to categorise, but highly enjoyable oddity. There’s obvious elements of horror in the premise and execution, but it never sets out to terrify. Likewise, it’s sexy as hell but never erotic; darkly comic, but without ever being laugh out loud funny. Nina Forever is a unique film and one of the most impressive debuts we’ve seen in quite some time.

NINA FOREVER / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: BEN BLAINE AND CHRIS BLAINE / STARRING: FIONA O’SHAUGHNESSY, ABIGAIL HARDINGHAM, CIAN BARRY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (LIMITED CINEMA RELEASE), DECEMBER 31ST (DVD)
 


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