Getting off the ground rather quickly, La noche del virgen/The Night of the Virgin, the debut feature from Spanish filmmaker Roberto San Sebastián, manages to combine all his influences into one screwball effort. Although certainly showing novice status from time-to-time, the film still offers plenty to like within, which makes it a natural to air as part of the prestigious Fantasia International Film Festival.
At a New Year’s Eve party, Nico (Javier Bódalo, from “Ghost Graduation”), a naïve twenty year old, sets out ready to lose his virginity at all costs that same night. In the middle of the party, his gaze crosses Medea (Miriam Martín, from “Todos estamos invitados”), a cunning and attractive mature woman. What promised to be an epic sexual debut full of lust and lack of restraint, ends up turning into his worst nightmare; as nearly every situation imaginable begins to intrude on the couple, from the noisy neighbors upstairs, to the ex-boyfriend Araña (Víctor Amilibia, from “Feel, Not to Say”) interrupting matters. However, that’s only the start of the nightmare, as the evening soon turns full of blood, sweat and varied discharges.
This is one of the hardest films from the festival to really get a hold of, as it’s nearly impossible to talk about this film without spoiling what goes on. Frankly, the general tone is gross-out comedy meets body-horror, with a touch of a coming-of-age story; yet these seemingly disparate elements come together rather nicely. The first half, with Nico in the club trying to find a girl to come home with, is a fine comedy tale as the rejections start to get more personal and weigh on him more. Yet once they leave and enter her apartment, this turns into a fun enough gross-out horror/comedy. Once there, literally every sort of bodily fluid imaginable is discharged and graced across the screen, which is what makes for a fun time here; the continuous one-upping nature of the scenes gives this a demented, deranged tone that eventually begins to feel insanely funny. Capitalizing on these gross-out gags are some terrifying moments in an agonizing pregnancy sequence. A mutant infant crawling around and the final reveal with the ritual sequence, shows the filmmakers took great care with the claustrophobic setting, as the decrepit apartment is given plenty of coverage to let loose with the onslaught throughout.
Granted, this is one of the most extreme, obscene films around and that makes for a troublesome point here. The film is absolutely unapologetic about it’s gross-out content, spewing forth vomit, blood, menstrual fluids and much, much more throughout, and in quantities that no human body would ever be able to contain. That alone makes this such a niche film, that it’s very nature would be an endurance test of insane proportions for most to even undertake. This doesn’t shy away from any form of bodily discharge conceivable, and thus that gives the film a deranged quality that could only appeal to the more adventurous genre fans, and even then the film is a tough sit-through. It’s also not helped by the main overriding factor against this one in that it’s just too long. There’s nothing that can be said here to defend its length; the film just drags on for no reason until it reaches an ungodly length of two hours, and there are plenty of scenes here that can be removed or trimmed down. This would be even more concise and effective with a half-hour shaved off immediately, as the jokes and gags here go on far longer than they should, rendering the joke far from funny anymore.
However, even under the auspices of the films flaws, this is still one of the more engaging and visceral films in the genre. It does have it’s flaws, but there’s more than enough to have a good time with The Night of the Virigin. And if you’re a fan of extreme cinema only, this is still a hard one to get through.
The Night of the Virgin screens July 22nd at the Fantasia Festival.
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