We all have that ex-spouse that lingers around just a little too long. You know the one I’m talking about. You finally bite down and tell him that all he does it eat pizza, play video games and watch horror movies all day (which has an enormous effect on his libido… [Mallrats]) and his personal hygiene has gotten to a point that it is physically offensive and if she has to cut Big League Chew out of my back hair one more time she is going to explode with disgust. Now she won’t return my phone calls and the packages of my own hair I am sending her are being returned… Uhhh… You know… or something like that. Now imagine that in that scenario ( which is completely fictional and not a horribly embarrassing chapter of my life) with an ex that you didn’t dump, but is taking an eternal dirt nap. That’s right imagine trying to start a new relationship and every time you’re about to “get down” your dead ex shows up. For most that would be a nightmare (I said most, I know somewhere there’s a group of people on the internet who would love that…) and for directors Ben and Chris Blaine that’s the premise for Nina Forever.
Rob ( Cian Barry) just lost his long time girlfriend Nina (Fiona O’Shaughnessy). Now he spends his days moping around, listening to depressing (yet awesome) music and being an angst ridden hunk. All this sullen behavior doesn’t go unnoticed, Rob’s co-worker Holly is smittened by him. She views Rob’s grief as the ultimate devotion of his love and is looking to purchase a ticket on the “Rob Train of Love” Holly’s wish eventually comes true and the newly formed couple are on their way to living happily ever after except for one small problem: Whenever Holly and Rob start getting “intimate” Nina’s bloodied corpse appears in bed with them. Now Nina is not a zombie in The Walking Dead sense of the word. She talks and is actually present (it’s not like a crazy dream or in their heads), but she is indeed dead. Talk about bring baggage into a new relationship. Nothing will kill the mood quicker than your ex-girlfriend’s rotting corpse in bed with you.
The subject of a young man in a new relationship having to deal with his recently deceased ex-girlfriend coming back to life has been done (Bury the Ex and Life After Beth both came out last year). Fortunately, The Blaine Brothers have no interest in adding to the horror comedy pile. They are more interesting in delving into the these characters and the emotional components that make up grief and how humans use one another. The deeper meaning and what exactly Nina is one of the many reasons I dug Nina Forever. Horror flicks can sometimes get lost in a concept like this, but the Blaines fully utilize it to deliver a deep and engaging story. Something that is sorely lacking in the horror world.
Without solid actors all this deeper meaning stuff would be shit. Luckily for us everyone here is digging deep and delivering the goods. Cian Barry nails the grieving widow trying to move on and Abigail Hardingham plays the part of the new girlfriend well. Watching these two’s relationship blossom makes you almost forget that you’re watching a horror movie. Almost. The real scene stealer here is Fiona O’Shaughnessy. She plays the corpse with a whimsical and creepy approach. It let’s you know that even Nina is not sure why she is there, but she is there and just like everyone else she’s not exactly happy about it. When Nina first “emerges” it’s done in such a spectacular gross fashion that you know you are absolutely in a horror movie and one you have never seen before. Nina’s contorted blood covered body appears in the bed and at first the couple are horrified and who wouldn’t be? They are in the middle of having sex when we are at our most vulnerable (both physically and emotionally, but eventually decided that they will have to deal with Nina if their relationship is going to flourish. Much like life. You can’t just ignore the rotten corpse in the room. You got to talk about it. Life lessons are on the house here at SJP. You’re welcome.
Nina Forever was disturbing, thought-provoking and heart breaking (the sub-plot with Nina’s parents was a real tear jerker). A movie like this doesn’t come around often in the horror world and it’s easy to see why. Playing a plot like this straight is a major turn off for a lot of people, but isn’t that what the horror world is for? The topics and movies that the rest of the movie world are too afraid to go into. The Blaine Brother’s dive head first into it and deliver a movie that is anything, but safe and is absolutely worth the risk.