Nina Forever, 2015
directed by Ben & Chris Blaine
starring Cian Berry, Abigail Hardingham, Fiona O’Shaughnessy
While there have been a few recent entries in the small nook of undead romance (Warm Bodies and Life After Beth being two decent and recent examples), Nina Forever sets itself apart by excelling at the serious side of the plot, a dark tale of romance and grief, as well as being morbidly comical. The story is simple enough, and excellently introduced within the first biting twenty minutes. In a bleak English town, a man loses his girlfriend to an automobile accident, attempts suicide but is unsuccessful, and eventually while sleeping with a new romantic partner, the pale and bloodied body of his ex-girlfriend arises from the bed to join them. But, yeah, the movie somehow actually is romantic without seeming as ridiculous as the plot on paper.
There were two major surprises for me with Nina Forever, which I had really been anticipating for over a year since seeing the trailer. One, the tone of the humor is rather original. It’s sarcastic and very much in the tone of British humor, but the combining the morbidity of the scenes with the snarky remarks actually reminded me a lot of Beetlejuice. The first line that Nina, the arisen corpse, utters almost made me groan, but the balance between comedy and drama throughout the film is rather even and appropriate. Two, as previously mentioned, the dramatic scenes are actually very well done. The characters are all well acted, the chemistry is very apparent throughout, and the film is simultaneously sexy and introspective. For a horror-romance, Nina Forever is exceptionally intelligent and actually affecting and thought provoking.
Nina Forever is also exceptionally stylish. While integration of cell phone communication is becoming more and more normal (and probably necessary), it’s done here well enough and doesn’t seem to be a gimmick. A lot of the scenes are edited to show the final result, then flashing back through the events leading up adding tension and flair. The soundtrack is filled with some great tracks, and the movie never really lags. The poster probably has it described the best with “A fucked up fairy tale,” as it really is not a traditional horror movie, but a dark and bloody romance. If that sounds like your taste, Nina Forever should at the very least match your expectations, and likely pass them.