What if your spouse tragically died in an accident? What if you tried to move on with your life, and every time you’d engage in sexual encounters, your deceased loved one ghoulishly clawed her/his way through the bed sheets, gory and bloody, to discuss how you are still theirs? Sounds odd, but it somehow harmoniously works in “Nina Forever”, making its Canadian premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival.
Rob has tried to kill himself, in desperate grief from losing his girlfriend, Nina, in a horrible crash. He has now begun a new job at the supermarket, catching the eye of fellow co-worker, Holly. She is secretly obsessed with Rob, intrigued by his silent, lonesome mysteriousness, and as she puts it: “Imagined being f*cked by someone so tormented”. They engage in a few dates, and when things get intimate, things also get weird. Blood begins to soak the sheets; a hand rips its way through the mattress; and a blood-soaked Nina uneasily contorts her way onto the bed. She claims that Rob is still hers and that they never broke up. Rob, however, is determined to make things work with Holly and persists in trying to conquer her love. Holly, resistant at first, attempts to progress in her relationship with Rob and Nina, even trying to involve the gruesome, gory (ex-?) girlfriend in their sexual intimacy. What ensues is a dark, funny, beautiful movie.
Fiona O’Shaughnessy superbly interprets Nina, distorting her body in a grim way every time she maneuvers her way through and around the bed, adding to the idea that she is technically a reanimated corpse. Is she a ghost, a spirit, or is she truly there? It remains unclear, but one thing for sure is that whenever she somehow disappears, the blood-drenched bed sheets must be thrown out and replaced by new ones, so she definitely isn’t just a vision. Cian Barry, in the role of Rob, also plays his role very well. Much intrigue is directed to him by the viewer in the first moments of the movie due to his silent, murky self. As the film progresses, the mystery of Rob dies as he becomes ordinary, just another guy, wishing for a girl to love him back.
This was all done purposefully, as the main focus truly is Holly, portrayed by Abigail Hardingham. She plays a quiet, charming girl, desperately attracted to Rob. Her character development is truly interesting throughout the movie, going from a simple, yet socially bizarre, girl, to an appalled and hesitant individual when Nina crawls through the bed sheets, to someone who is willing to integrate the dead girlfriend of her new lover to make things work. The acting is the main aspect that stands out from this film, as all three main characters are phenomenally interpreted.
Do not expect “Nina Forever” to be focused on gore or special effects. It is a darkly humoristic, oddly erotic, at times touching, and intriguing story. We observe the character evolution of both Rob and Holly as they slowly change, showing different aspects of their persona.
An original story, originating out of the U.K., that deserves 4 stars out of 5 for the sensational acting in this somber, poignant, and thought-evoking film. What would you do if your deceased spouse came up in bed during your sexual relations with your new encounter?