Taiwan, famous as the home to tech companies Asus and Acer, beautiful scenery, night markets, food and now, perhaps, one of the most over the top and gore filled movies we’ve seen in a long, long time, welcome to The Sadness.
The day starts out like any other for happy in love couple Jim, Berant Zhu (“We Are Champions”, “How to Train Our Dragon”), and Kat, Regina Lei (“76 Horror Bookstore (TV)”). Normal except for the strange woman Jim sees on the balcony opposite, all in white, apart from the red blood stains down the front of her gown and her weird eyes.
This is down to a new virus, Alvin, that is in some way connected to rabies. Despite concerns and shouts from virologists that it could mutate, everyone is ‘pandemic’d out’ after Covid and so no-one pays any attention.
That is until some 4.5 million people become infected and it is making them do unspeakable things. Man, woman, child, it matters not a jot, the virus is linking the violent part of the brain to the sexual urge part of the brain and, whilst people are aware and repulsed by what they’re doing, they can’t stop.
Murdering, stabbing, biting, hitting, torture, setting people on fire, rape, buggery and all that you can think of, these infected people are doing. Jim, having lost a couple of fingers after an altercation with his neighbour, is desperately attempting to get across town to Kat.
Kat saw the virus first-hand when all hell broke loose on her train to work and people began stabbing and biting and putting umbrellas in people’s eyes. She manages to escape unharmed with another woman, Molly, who is injured and they flee to the hospital.
She is being chased by a businessman, Tzu-Chiang Wang (“Dream Raider (TV)”, “Sent from Above”), who attempted to talk to her on the train, tell her she was pretty, but she rebuffed him, loudly. Now that he’s infected, he has his heart set on Kat and nothing will stand in his way.
The man behind The Sadness is Rob Jabbaz and this is his feature debut…it’s one you’re going to remember. I’m not sure what goes on in Canada, where Mr. Jabbaz is from, but someone should check on them, quickly.
The Sadness is crazy, think Nicolas Cage crazy, think Mom and Dad crazy only pumped with steroids, set on fire, injected with rabies and thrown into an active volcano. It’s truly, completely and utterly bonkers and it’s all the better for it.
Look, it’s clearly not going to be to everyone’s taste, but The Sadness is perfect if you like your violence bloody, non-stop, intense and gruesome with no filters. For example, there’s a scene where the Businessman comes across Molly again and decides to have his way with her using an orifice that is not one used for sexual gratification. You may not see it exactly, but it will still make you wince.
Jabbaz even throws in a bit of dark (very dark) humour. Some sweet talk that escalates quickly, a virologist who, whilst explaining to Kat how it all works, has a conversation with himself too.
Equally, there are some scenes that drag a little. There’s the usual moments where people just stand around screaming, rather then, you know, running like f*ck from the people doing the stabby things.
But, for a debut feature, it’s certainly a way to get noticed and The Sadness is an accomplished, OTT, gore-fest filled movie that, back in the day, the kids would have been passing round on VHS.