The Sadness is a 2021 Taiwanese horror film written and directed by Canadian filmmaker Rob Jabbaz in his feature film directorial debut. It follows Jim and Katie, a couple who attempt to reunite amidst a viral pandemic that turns people into sadistic maniacs.
Jim and Kat wake up in their apartment and get ready on a day like any other. After having a small disagreement about any upcoming trip, a podcast interview catches the eye of Jim. A medical expert claims that a dangerous virus known as “Alvin” has potential to mutate into something far more serious. He urges the government to enact a nationwide quarantine. However, the host of the podcast dismisses this as a way of inciting panic in the lead up to an election. Jim’s neighbour explains that he believes that the virus is nothing more than a hoax.
Jim drives Kat to her train station but before arriving they pass a crime scene where a police officer restrains a man covered in blood. Afterwards, he drops her off and they reaffirm their love for one another before saying goodbye.
Jim then heads to a nearby café. Suddenly, an old woman enters with blood on her nightdress. She spits in the face of a customer before throwing hot cooking oil on the worker behind the counter. The customer on whom she spit immediately attacks another man with a kitchen knife. Jim flees from the scene but witnesses further violent atrocities in the streets. Seemingly infected people with huge dark pupils and gleeful smiles brutally attacking anyone in sight.
Jim runs home while pursued in an attempt to retrieve his phone. While there, he is attacked by his neighbour and loses two fingers that are severed by some hedge trimmers. After fending the neighbour off, Jim leaves town on his motorcycle. He has one thing on his mind, finding Kat. The next portion of the film focuses on Kat’s story and the many horrific tribulations that she has had to overcome. It becomes apparent that not only do the monsters wish to murder everyone but they enjoy raping their victims as well.
Can they find each other? If you can handle it, check out The Sadness.
Man, where to start on this one? There’s horror films and then there’s movies like The Sadness which can be better described as extreme horror. Simply put, it’s one that will test your sensibilities and make you ask the question, where do you draw the line? If this doesn’t cross that line then what would? Some may find many of the aspects in the film way too depraved and disturbing, especially the moments involving sexual assault. Seriously, this film makes The Evil Dead look tame by comparison.
The practical effects used throughout are spectacular, just unbelievable. This is a gore fest that delivers over and over again. I cannot understate how blown away I was by the effects work, it’s the best I have ever seen. Its stomach churning stuff but in the best way possible. This type of zombie or rage virus is super inventive and original. The whole concept is equal parts sad and terrifying all at once.
The story is very simplistic and there’s little in the way of character development. Still, I was invested in the story of the main characters. The actors have good chemistry in their brief moments together so I was willing to see them reunited.
This type of horror film just doesn’t come along that often. It has huge balls to try things that many would be afraid to try. Regardless of the sexual violence, I never felt that it went too far. It doesn’t cross the line of feeling exploitative because a lot of the sexual assault is insinuated rather than shown in great detail. It even manages to have a comedic edge with some absolutely absurd dialogue that you can’t help but laugh at. There are certain scenes I won’t be able to forget quickly.
Overall, The Sadness is up there as one of the most gore filled horror films I have ever seen. It’s a wild ride from beginning to end and I genuinely cannot recommend it enough. In fact, I will be recommending it to anyone that will listen from this day forth. Despite all of the horrific carnage, it manages to be funny and even has a heart. Unbelievable work from a directional debut, bravo!
The Final Score - 10/10