Review: Nina Forever (2015)
Points to this movie for just how damned weird it is. A genre busting, zomromcom mashup that starts like a more stylish Life After Beth knockoff, but becomes something far deeper and perhaps even profound.
The plot goes like this: A grocery store clerk meets a boy, who also works at the grocery store and has a reputation among the staff for attempting suicide after his girlfriend dies in an auto crash. Sparks fly and soon they wind up at boy's house, having sex. Unfortunately for the both of them, every time they try to make coitus, boy's dead girlfriend appears, in physical form, the same form she had at death.
That's about it. And while I'm sure you can think of a variety of conventional horror movie avenues this setup could take, but let me tell you, you'd be wrong. I was very impressed with just how resolute this movie was not to fall into a familiar pattern, a pattern we've seen over and over again, and commit instead to remaining remarkably restrained.
And that's what's refreshing about Nina Forever. Despite its macabre synopsis, it really isn't a story about a haunting, or about a zombie, or about a ghoul. It really isn't even a horror movie. It's a drama about love, loss and, most importantly, about grief. How one deals with grief, how one moves on from grief, and how grief presents itself in different ways to different people. It's also about the transference of grief. How one person can actually pick up another person's grief, either by circumstance or proximity.
Nina Forever is written and directed by the Blaine brothers. A talented duo making their feature film debut. The movie they create is gorgeously filmed and smartly written. A film which understands its characters, their age, their environment, and understands how people in this age bracket talk and how they communicate with one another, in the things they say and in the things they choose not to. As a result the film is a relatable slice of relationship drama with a fantastical bent to it.
There are, however, disturbing moments in the film. Every time Nina (the dead girlfriend) pops around, it's an equally sad and gory sight. And the way she moves and talks and lays about is a horrible image. The first time she appears is also pretty harrowing. Like a reverse birthing process with extra blood and a kinky sexuality that would make for a hot scene if she wasn't so, well, you know, dead.
Nina Forever is an easy film to recommend, but a hard film to know who to recommend it to. On the one hand, horrorhounds may be turned off by the lack of any real horror in it, while people who are into heavy dramas and dark examinations of guilt and grief may be turned off by the way grief literally presents itself in this film. But if you don't mind a little blood, a little death, and a lot of grief, then I guess this movie is for you. It is Valentine's Day after all.