Nina Forever movie full length review - No thanks Nina
Nina Forever is the blackly comic debut feature from the writer/director team of Ben & Chris Blaine which begins very promisingly with supermarket drone Holly (Abigail Hardingham) wooing her work colleague Rob, (Cian Barry), into a romantic relationship.
Rob is game but still grieving with suicidal tendencies from the death of his previous lover, Nina, who was killed in a motoring accident. This opening segment is well set up with offbeat humour, convincing performances and a disquieting atmosphere thanks to Oliver Russell's sullen cinematography.
Once Rob and Holly hop into the sack however, the brothers Blaine hit premature ejaculation and out pops the bloody apparition that is Nina, spawned from the hereafter for a sabotage mission. Her bizarre and shocking introduction from the inside beyond of Rob's mattress is as impressive as it is gruesome, and quite understandably deflates the newly acquainted couple's appetite for love making. But almost as quickly as Nina's arrival comes the realisation that this is as good as it gets and the story has reached its final destination in stalled county.
The scenario is served up again and again and again as, rather than screaming her lungs out and running for her life, Holly perseveres and messes in (pun intended) with replacing the gore stained bed sheets every time naughty Nina appears from the afterlife to spanner the would-be blossoming romance with the supposedly acerbic diatribes spewed forth from the bowels of her gob.
Add in Rob's continuing and, it has to be said, occasionally hilarious affiliation with his undead girlfriend's parents, and you've pretty much got everything Nina Forever has to offer. There is little more here than a much laboured conceit about not being able to move on with one's life and being tied to the past blah blah blah, with little variation or story progression to hold the interest.
And then there is the problem of Nina herself: in place of a sympathetic and menacing entity from beyond the grave, we have an irritant bore with the voice of a child and the charismatic black hole demeanour of a refugee from Made-In-Chelsea. Whatever it was about this tiresome It-Girl wannabe Rob found so enchanting and beautiful one can only guess at, as any charm and personality plus points she may have once possessed must have been wheeled off to the knackers yard for crushing along with the vehicle she perished in.
Once again, the writing can take a lot of the blame, but this is shared by the miscasting of Fiona O'Shaughnessy in the title role. She looks physically too long in the tooth for young Rob, yet (ironically) lacks the mature thespian chops required to flesh out the complexities this, admittedly difficult role demands, resulting in a double whammy fail.
Some compensation arrives late in the shape of Rob's moving confrontation in a restaurant with Nina's Mum and Dad and the torch passing fate afforded Holly in the closing scenes. Both are well delivered and move things forward slightly. But it's too little too late.
The brothers Blaine have over reached themselves with a half baked story that, despite its allusions to surrealism and the macabre, is far too well behaved & normal for the tropes contained within. Either an off-the-wall, avant-garde, art-house telling or a straight, hell-for-leather, horror roller-coaster would have been preferable treatment to the underwhelming elegance this non-starter has to offer. Better luck next time boys.