Review: “Nina Forever” The Darkest Of Romances

The darkest of romances make for the best romance merely for the fact that they eschew all the saccharine pulp that has been the theme in many classic romantic pieces. What they lack is a confrontation with the realism of pain, anguish, loss, and regret that engulfs and plagues the living. Who needs sweeping epics of grand romantic gestures when dark pieces of romance like Edgar Allan Poe‘s Annabel Lee and Nirvana‘s Heart Shaped Box exist. Ben and Chris Blaine bring just that type of darkness in their romance/horror film Nina Forever, a film that clashes and blends the dark and the light.

The film begins with Rob (Cian Barry), a car crash survivor who just barely makes it out alive in the film’s opening scene. However, a second chance at life is more than Rob asked for: since his girlfriend Nina (Fiona O’Shaughnessy) passed away, still in mired in grief and tortured by guilt, Rob intended to die in that car accident, in what ends up being a botched suicide attempt that was supposed to rid him of his misery. Not only is Rob left with his torment but he has to endure a mundane and banal existence as a stock boy at a grocery store: life sucks. Rob’s pain is another’s fascination when his damaged veneer attracts the attention of fellow employee and register-jockey, Holly (Abigail Hardingham) who quickly strikes up a relationship with the damaged and wounded Rob despite rumors and gossip from those around Rob.

Everything seems perfect for the two, but they soon realize that things are about to get complicated for them. Every time the two intertwine for a love making session, Nina rears her bloody head– and not in a figurative sense. Nina is literally conjured up from her eternal dirt nap every time Rob has sexual relations with someone, inundating his bed with blood and groping the two partners into an uncomfortable confrontation of his past. Obviously this spells trouble for Rob and Holly’s newfound relationship but as things progress they find a way to integrate the tortured soul into their own livelihoods in an attempt to remain with each other and obtain a semblance of normalcy.

Nina Forever is a unique and fascinating dry-comedy-romance-horror film that explores the serious effects of trauma and loss and makes room for a dark and sophisticated sense of humor that confronts the film’s ludicrously high-concept plot about a ghostly jealousness. What writer and director’s Ben and Chris Blaine bring, is a gender-bending postmodern work that stirs a myriad of genres into an effective and engaging film about life, death, love, and loss and one that is not easy to pigeonhole into one rigid genre or sensibility. It’s equal parts Edgar Allan Poe mixed with the dark romanticism of a Smiths song filled with humanism, while seeped in blood and steamy sex.

What the film does best is blend a mosaic of themes and characters with the utterly absurdity of a ghost tale. The film is dark and serious but manages to find an ounce of dark comedy within itself to create one of the most believable works of the implausible. The film perfectly encapsulates life: that indecipherable and transient state of uncertainty that’s filled with joy and melancholy which is something that Nina Forever captures well.

Nina Forever made its debut at 2015’s South by Southwest Festival and saw a limited theatrical release in February of 2016 in time for Valentine’s Day. It is currently available on demand through iTunes, Amazon, Vimeo On Demand, and all other streaming platforms.We Are Indie Horror is giving away a code for 50% 0ff for a download from Vimeo On Demand! Follow the We Are Indie Horror Facebook to not miss your chance.