Ben & Chris Blaine's Nina Forever is a horror comedy hybrid which only sometimes works, but at its best, the film does provide a thinly-veiled allegory about the toxic nature of depression, loss, and emotional pain. The film tells the story of Holly, a young paramedic-in-training, who works a dead end job in a supermarket. This is where she meets Rob, a lost and angry young man, who hasn't been able to get his life back together since the dead of his girlfriend Nina in a car crash, wallowing in grief along with Nina's parents. Nina is drawn to Rob's apathy for life, and the two begin to see one and other, with Nina providing some semblance of a release for Rob. Things seem to be going well, that is until the couple goes to bed together, where Nina reemerges. Unable to rest in the afterlife, Nina, a tangled mess of blood & flesh, is still angry, chastising Rob for moving on from her while making life a living hell for Holly. With Holly determined to help heal Rob's proverbial wounds, Nina Forever provides one of the strangest love triangle relationships ever committed to celluloid, as Holly attempts to be with Rob while appeasing his ex-dead-girlfriend. Nina Forever is a film that I would describe as not quite funny enough to work as a comedy, nor thrilling or grotesque enough to work as a horror film, but what Ben & Chris Blaine have created is no doubt an oddly compelling film about the destructive nature of grief. Nina Forever is surprisingly insightful when it comes to issues of loss, exhibiting the stagnation it causes in everyone effected. Rob's relationship with Nina's parents is a great example of this, how these characters enable each other to remain stuck-in-a-rut, finding solace in each other pains in a way that never helps them move forward and eventually free themselves from despair. Personally I like to think of Nina's undead character as simply a manifestation of grief, loss, and pessimism, a physical representation of the baggage which Rob, and eventually Nina is burdened with carrying. Nina is a major obstacle in Holly and Rob's budding relationship, a symbolic representation of his baggie, i.e. grief, but towards the end of the film, after Rob and Holly find themselves separated, Nina finds herself now attached to Holly. While a little confusing, Nina now represents the baggage which Holly now carries from the failed relationship with Rob, though I may be reading into this much. While Ben & Chris Blaine's Nina Forever does show some of the warts of any first-time filmmaking, which in this case include an ill-advised, overuse of text messages that grow tiresome quickly, this is an oddly original and resonant story about grief and emotional baggage that suggest irst-time feature filmmakers Ben & Chris Blaine may have an interesting career ahead of them.
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