The Night of the Virgin Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Matchbox Films
Directed by Roberto San Sebástian
Written by Guillermo Guerrero
2016, 116 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on April 2nd 2018
Javier Bódalo as Nico
Miriam Martín as Medea
Victor Amilibia as Araña
Ignatius Farray as Ramón García
The Night of the Virgin does not want you to get your rocks off. Far from the lurid blonde-in-a-white-dress exploitation slasher movie or raunchy sex comedy the title evokes thoughts of, this jet-black Spanish comedy horror is one of the least erotic films about a virgin ever made. Unless you’re rocking a very specific set of fetishes, there’s barely a moment of titillation to be had here, director Roberto San Sebástian undercutting every single potentially arousing moment with a disgusting joke, grotesque snapshot of imagery, cheeky subversion or well-applied bit of bathos.
When goofy virgin Nico picks up a woman in a nightclub on New Year’s Eve, he thinks his luck’s in and he might finally be about to pop that cherry. Heading back to her city flat, he hopes to see the New Year in with style. No such luck – his horny new friend has plans for him that go well beyond a mere hootenanny slap and tickle. And the cockroach infestation, creepy statue and terrifyingly angry man outside the apartment are doing nothing for the mood either.
There’s a slow build to the horror element, and the film lulls you into a false sense of security with its story, appearing to be one thing at first before going all the way in the opposite direction. Viewers would be best served with as little forewarning as possible, allowing the film’s glorious final quarter to shock and appal without the same sense of hype and expectation that tends to spoil most films like it. Not that there are many films like this one. Those who want to go in relatively unspoiled would be advised to skip the rest of this review. You too, if you’re eating your lunch right now.
Still reading? You might appreciate the warning: The Night of the Virgin is one of the most extreme body horror films ever made, spraying jets of blood, vomit and jizz with a glee that puts even The Evil Dead to shame. Not since Nekromantik and its sequel has my otherwise hardened gag reflex been so troubled by a movie. As a gleeful fan of the body horror classics, my stomach doesn’t often turn, but The Night of the Virgin had it spinning around like a tumble-dryer at one point. Sympathetic pukers may want to give this one a miss. Scratch that – most people may want to give this one a miss. Like a Family Guy chicken fight gag, it goes on and on, and then on some more, well after you think there’s nothing left in the tank. There’s a palpable sense of relief when the torrents of bodily fluids finally run out, and the film ends.
Which isn’t to say that The Night of the Virgin isn’t worth your time. Gross-out humour is a hard thing to do well, and this one makes the Farrelly brothers look like rank amateurs. Sebástian gets the balance just right, slowly building to his balls-out climax with strong character work, tight storytelling and a funny script. It gets you to care about its tit(heh)ular virgin before opening the flood gates, with Javier Bódalo doing a remarkable job as the lead. While it’s a bad night for Nico, his plight is treated with such a sense of absurdism that it never crosses the line over to truly upsetting cruelty, allowing the audience to enjoy his torment. As much as one can enjoy [redacted], [redacted] and a farting [redacted] spewing jets of [redacted] into a woman’s face while in the act of [redacted] [redacted], anyway.
Certainly not for everyone, then. The Night of the Virgin is body horror at its most gleeful, throwing everything plus the kitchen sink (which is also full of bodily excretions) at its poor hapless hero, committing to the splatter with such force that it almost even begins to wear thin by the end. Almost. This is David Cronenberg meets The Inbetweeners; American Pie with a Greasy Strangler filling; a warts-and-all comedy horror which should put unwitting viewers off casual hookup sex for a very long time.
Extreme splatter fans, iron-gutted cinephiles and folks with a kink for vomit, however, will certainly have fun with it. It’s the most disgusting, funniest and weirdest horror film in a very long time. Whatever floats your boat, but in this case, it’ll be floating in [redacted].