Title – The Sadness (2021)
Director – Rob Jabbaz (feature debut)
Cast – Berant Zhu, Regina Lei, Tzu-Chiang Wang
Plot – In the Taiwanese city of Taipei, young couple Jim (Zhu) and Katie (Lei) must battle to be reunited in a city torn to pieces by a devastating and mind altering plague that turns its victims into bloodthirsty maniacs.
“There you are”
Review by Eddie on 16/06/2022
Creating quite the stir with his debut effort behind the camera, Canadian born but Taiwan based director Rob Jabbaz’s visceral and uncompromising gore-filled horror The Sadness never shy’s away from its depraved and wild set-up but while it’s sure to shock and keep you watching (if your stomach allows it), there’s a coldness and narrative void here the film can’t overcome, halting it from becoming the must-watch genre experience of the year.
Gaining notoriety at various festivals across the world and garnering larger hype after its release recently on horror streaming service Shudder, The Sadness has managed to draw viewers in through attention in the press and word of mouth occurrences and for anyone that is expecting a bloodthirsty escapade that explores the city of Taipei thrown into chaos when a plague turns many of its citizens into murderous and raving lunatics, Jabbaz film will provide the exact type of offering their seeking but it’s unfortunate the central characters and plot-line don’t connect to make all the insanity something more than pure shock value.
Wasting little time getting stuck into the action (horror) of his film, deep fried goodness included, Jabbaz tries to give his film some heart and soul with Berant Zhu and Regina Lei’s loved up couple Jim and Katie becoming our hosts in amongst the depravity of the Taiwanese plague but despite the best attempts of his lead duo, their quest to be reunited in the chaos unfolding around them never really clicks into gear, making much of The Sadness’s plot paper thin at best and with little reason to care about outcomes of the films characters, there’s only so far this feature can go on the back of its sensory overload.
There’s little denying in this sensory sense that The Sadness is one of the most unforgettable and eye opening genre efforts in some time and Jabbaz does instil this affair with a sense of kinetic energy that captures the insanity and wild nature of this premise, that while over the top in almost all instances, strikes a different kind of chord after the Covid-19 era of our lives and while it’s not an entirely unique premise, with the film feeling like a zombie film that isn’t while touches on familiar ground to a film such as The Crazies, there is a unique and memorable nature to this film that is found amongst all the lesser elements.
Final Say –
A film that may be too much for many to handle, The Sadness never holds back when it comes to the shock and awe factor of its story but with an inability to make us care and a faltering in the storytelling department, this blood-soaked horror is never close to being the classic it might have been.
2 1/2 umbrellas out of 5
“The Sadness” is the most straightforward translation of its Chinese title, 哭悲 (ku bei, literally “crying grief”), I see the word “sadness” and I have to myself, “no, not Sadeness like Marqui de or Sadness like ‘Smooth Operator”). If you can find it streaming, I recommend the Asian horror anothology from 2002 called Three. Taken straight from the wiki page, it consists of:
Memories, directed by Kim Jee-woon (South Korea)
– dialogue in Korean
The Wheel, directed by Nonzee Nimibutr (Thailand)
– dialogue in Thai
Going Home, directed by Peter Chan (Hong Kong)
– dialogue in Cantonese and Mandarin
Thanks for the recommendation Pugs!
This doesn’t seem like it reached its potential. I had been looking forward to it but it sounds disappointing. Thanks for saving me 90 minutes of reading subtitles.
If insane violence is on the menu this one delivers but doesn’t do enough elsewhere sadly.
So, I just finished watching this movie on Shudder. While it’s a movie I respect, namely how it goes for broke with it’s blood, gore, and violence (the effects are really top notch, BTW). However, it’s so overtly bleak and nihilistic that it leaves an empty feeling inside me, and I have no desire to revisit it.
I heard people compare the levels of gore to early Peter Jackson, but at least with stuff like Bad Taste or Dead Alive, it’s so over-the-top and cartoonish that it makes it incredibly fun to watch. Same with something like Reanimator.
Hopefully, we’ll get out must watch horror film of the year this year.
Mate this was as bleak as they come and quite confronting in parts too.
I am holding out that Black Phone might be the horror masterpiece we are seeking this year.