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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Another Hole in the Head Festival Movie Review: Nina Forever (2015)

Nina Forever (2015)
Rating: Unrated
98 min 
Genre: Horror, Comedy
14 March 2015 (USA)
Directed By: Ben Blaine, Chris Blaine
Written By: Ben Blaine, Chris Blaine
Stars: Fiona O'Shaughnessy, Abigail Hardingham, Cian Barry
Official Site
Holly wants to save Rob and has fallen in love with him. She is training to be a paramedic and works a dead end job in a supermarket where Rob is the only remarkable thing; lost and angry since the death of his girlfriend Nina. Drawn into a relationship, the first time they're in bed together so is Nina. A tangled and bloody mess of broken limbs, she is very much dead but still here, still talking, still angry... However Holly doesn't freak out and run - she is determined to be the one who heals Rob's wounds. She can deal with the dead girl sharing their bed, their lives, their minds. If it's what Rob needs, it's what Holly will do, whatever the consequences...

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 premise of Nina Forever is one that could easily descend into camp or gratuitous territory, but instead deftly walks a fine line as it navigates its story and emotions. Holly (Abigail Hardingham) begins a relationship with supermarket coworker Rob (Cian Barry) as he works through his grief over the accidental death of his girlfriend, Nina (Fiona O'Shaughnessy), and a past suicide attempt of his own. As their relationship grows, things take a turn for the weird when every time they have sex Nina appears, usually in bed with them, looking as broken and bloody as she presumably did at the accident scene that caused her death. 

As odd as the film is, it’s a brilliant odd that gets under your skin and makes you think about the nature of relationships, mourning, and closure. Rob and Holly’s relationship follows a believable progression and while there is a decent amount of nudity and sex, it’s never gratuitous. Instead, it emphasizes their growing romance and just how much of an imposition Nina’s presence is when she shows up. I was pleased that Rob and Holly’s relationship got away from just sex and into issues like learning who a person really is and the trials of moving in together – an event not helped along by Nina’s constant, taunting presence. It’s more of a relationship horror movie romance, but it’s one that has the ability to make you genuinely uncomfortable just as easily as it can make you laugh or empathize for the characters.

The cast is excellent all the way around. David Troughton has some wonderful moments as Nina’s father and Cian Barry brings a believable progression to Rob working through his grief and the strange turns it leads him through. Stand-out performances, though, are definitely O’Shaughnessy as Nina and Hardingham as Holly. Not only is it great to see such unique and multi-faceted women’s roles, but these ladies bring depth to both characters. O’Shaughnessy delivers a deliciously sarcastic performance while still coming off as a looming threat and, at times, genuinely vulnerable. Her physical acting is just phenomenal, as well, and when coupled with the special effects gives a performance that’s sometimes hard to watch but harder to look away from. Hardingham is impressive in the emotional range she showcases as Holly grows from na├»ve girl who doesn’t want to be seen as too sweet or too young, through the love she pours into her relationship with Rob, to where she eventually ends up. She makes Holly’s decision to not run from Nina believable, and her vulnerable performance makes watching how her good intentions turn around and bite her that much more poignant. At the end of the day, Holly’s journey dominates the film as Rob’s baggage and her insecurities eat away at her the more Nina gets in her headspace, and Hardingham makes it a tremendous journey to watch. Her exchanges with O’Shaughnessy are some of the high points of the movie.

The film showcases the themes of relationship baggage, grief, and self-consciousness, things everyone can relate to. The witty script by Ben and Chris Blaine and killer music are a bonus. The ending is a realistic take on closure, and I appreciated that they went there instead of trying to wrap everything in a neat bow.

4.5 bloody romantic sheep

Guest Reviewer: Selah Janel

1 comment:

  1. I'm thinking I might like to see it, but when you say it has a realistic ending, do you mean I'll want to throw something at the screen?