The Sadness – Film Review

Director: Rob Jabbaz

Writer: Rob Jabbaz

Starring: Berant Zhu, Regina Lei, Tzu-Chiang Wang

Rating: ★★★★

After being released in Taiwan last January and then appearing at international film festivals throughout 2021, Rob Jabbaz’s film The Sadness is now getting released on Shudder. The film is an all-out gore fest that doesn’t hold anything back and is set during a deadly pandemic where infected people lose all inhibitions and turn into essentially fast and violent zombies.

Jim (Berant Zhu) and Kat (Regina Lei) start their day as they normally would, with Jim dropping Kat off at the local train station. On his way back home, Jim goes to a local café, only to see one of the infected people attack the staff, he goes home to discover that the infection is widespread and heads out to find Kat, who at the same time is attacked on the train.

This film is definitely not going to be for everyone. Even some of the most dedicated of horror fans are going to wince and look away at certain points in this film. The gore is on another level. It’s bloody and brutal. Rob Jabbaz pushes everything to the extreme with a film that is very reminiscent of Gath Ennis’s comic series Crossed. Like the comic, every is made that much more horrific knowing that these are just infected people, there’s nothing other worldly or supernatural happening. To give just a little detail without spoiling the most gruesome moments, the film gruesomely shows ripping people’s faces off after pouring hot oil on them, poking out eyes with umbrellas, and a mass stabbing on the train. It also gets a lot worse than that at points, so probably best not to watch this one while eating.  The effects are simply fantastic and very convincing all the way through making everything that much more stomach churning.  

The first ten minutes of this film are stunning. It feels like a slow start, with small hints at what’s going to happen, and then without any warning it ramps everything up with bloody violence and doesn’t really let up until the last twenty minutes or so when the film starts to feel a little too long. The ending is good, but no where near as energetic as the opening. Even though the film focuses on Jim and Kat right from the start, it’s not a film that spends a lot of time building characters. You don’t really know them at all, but it’s still tense as they try to survive the outbreak. There’s just as much time spent with some brief social commentary about how the pandemic has been politicised and no one is listening to experts.

The Sadness is a brutal and sadistic film. If you aren’t put off by gore, then this is something for you. The effects are fantastic and the opening act is absolutely stunning, grabbing your attention straight away and you won’t be able to look away, even when you want to.  

The Sadness is available on Shudder from 12th May 2022

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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