Night of the Virgin (2016) [FrightFest Glasgow 2017]

On New Year’s Eve, a young man goes to a party hell-bent on losing his virginity.  There he meets an older woman who takes him home and tells him all about a goddess she learned about in Nepal.  Quickly things take a turn for the weird, the weirder, and the WTF.

Written by Guillermo Guerrero and directed by Roberto San Sebastian, the film takes its premise and cranks it to 11.  Most of the film revolves around two characters, Nico the titular virgin and Medea the lady who may make his dreams come true.  The film is written in way that goes from “maybe this is a bit much” to completely over the top within its runtime.  The story is fairly simple with only 3 characters really, one of them spending a good part of the film talking through a closed and barricaded apartment door.  The characters feel simple yet complex in their messed-up-ness.  Their lives could be easy but the choices they make put them in this insane situation by the film’s third part.  While they feel exaggerated and completely crazy, they work in this story and their environment.

The three lead characters, Nico, Medea, and Spider, are played by Javier Bodalo, Miriam Martin, and Victor Amilibia respectively.  While Bodalo starts the films exaggerating a bit much in his performance, the film’s insanity eventually catches up with him and he fits right in.  Martin gives a properly, increasingly demented performance.  She shows her craziness bit by bit, turning it up along with the film’s madness.  Amilibia for his part works better through the door when he can only be heard.  Once he is seen, he goes too over-the-top and feels cartoonish in a few scenes.  Generally though, this all works in the end due to the sheer general insanity of the second half.

Supporting this insanity are the special effects.  The crew led by Mario Campoy and Irene Rio have done amazing and amazingly gross effects here.  These start easy enough with a bit of blood and other bodily fluids.  Then I the second half of the film, they get to really shine amongst the insanity and madness.  Things take a bit of time to develop, but once they start going, they go to eleven fast.  The effects are a huge part of the second half, even more so in the last third or so.  One piece of their work in particular is a special shade of batty and thus highly enjoyable.  Not wanting to spoil it makes it difficult to discuss but lets just say it should make everyone cringe in the best way possible.  It’s gross, great, cringe-worthy work.

The way all of this is shot with cinematography by Adrian Hernandez keeps the focus mostly on the titular virgin and slowly shifts it to the insanity involving the poor guy.  The way the action is framed brings up the intensity by going up-close and (sometimes literally) personal with the characters.  Everything is right in your face, like it or not, and it may very well be a case where they aimed at “or not” which it does beyond well.  It takes the sometimes revolting, almost always surprising images and forces the viewer to watch up-close lest they close their eyes, which brings us back to the effects that need to be beyond on point when shot and shown this close up.  Also upping the insanity is how the film is editing by Ibon Belandia.  Belandia’s work adds an energy to the scenes with calculated cuts and occasional lingering on certain emotions and reactions.  Between the framing and editing, the action feels hyper-active at times which is perfect for the film.

Night of the Virgin is one gross-out of a film with a decent story and characters that are all desperate for one thing or another, bringing them all into one apartment for a maelstrom of insanity.  Considering last year’s The Greasy Strangler and Antibirth, Night of the Virgin looks to be in good company for what could very well be the birth (or re-birth) of Bizarro Cinema if that is even a thing.  It’s nuts but in a good way.  Once one scene made this reviewer go “that was unnecessary” while the rest of the WTF proceedings felt almost logical in the film’s own world.