Directors: Ben Blaine, Chris Blaine, Starring: Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Abigail Hardingham, Cian Barry. Horror/Drama. UK, 2015, 98mins, Cert 18.
Released in the UK on EST on 15th February and DVD & Blu-ray on 22nd February 2015 by Studiocanal.
There were three in the bed and the dead one said: “roll over, roll over...”
Two’s company, three’s a crowd funded (in part) British debut feature which tackles the grieving process with copious amounts of blood-soaked bed linen.
Having unsuccessfully attempted suicide following the tragic car crash death of his girlfriend Nina, mathematician Rob (Cian Barry) is slumming it as a shelf-stacker in a supermarket during the week, and spending his weekends seeking emotional solace through visiting his ex’s grieving parents. Trainee paramedic and fellow work colleague Holly (Abigail Hardingham) is drawn to Rob and they soon hit it off. Unfortunately, no sooner do they start to make the beast with two backs on Rob’s bed, than his deceased ex Nina (Fiona O’Shaughnessy) rises bloodied and broken through the sheets presenting Rob with an unexpected morbid ménage à trois.
Although the central conceit conjures up shades of HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II, whilst Julia’s celebratory mattress resurrection was willingly instigated by Dr. Channard, here it is an unwelcome manifestation of Rob’s inability to cope with the loss of Nina and the guilt of attempting to move on. It’s a scenario previously well-used in rom-coms, but directors Ben and Chris Blaine eschew cheap laughs and instead make their bed bloodied and bruised, haunting and memorable.
The performances are right on the money; none more so than Abigail Hardingham, outstanding as Holly, the trainee paramedic with an extreme character arc. From being dumped for supposedly being ‘vanilla’, to literally embracing the dilemma of competing with the bloody ghost of a dead-ex sharing her boyfriend’s bed in a determinedly uninhibited way, Hardingham is the central core around which the dead Nina and Rob messily intertwine. And a special mention is warranted for Nina’s grieving parents, played by David Troughton and Elizabeth Elvin, whose exhausting effort to suppress their pain finally erupts in an emotional draining scene.
Despite the generous helpings of blood and gore on display (Nina’s post-crash injuries are vividly rendered), this bittersweet fable is not a calculated exploitationer, and the decidedly non-coy sex scenes are refreshingly honest and serve to enhance character rather than merely titillate.
A surprisingly assured first-feature then for the Blaine boys. Having made their bed with NINA FOREVER it will be fascinating to see where they will lie next.
Extras: Promo segment, deleted scenes, making of.
****(out of 5*)
This review was first published on the FRIGHTFEST website.