Set in Taipei, we follow a young couple named Kat (Regina Lei) and Jim (Berant Zhu), who wake up in bed together and get ready for their normal daily routine. As the two share general discussions while getting ready for work, we understand that Kat is disappointed with her partner Jim, who is wanting to cancel a week’s holiday together and prioritise his work-life instead. Jim claims that the opportunity he’s been offered is quite rare and hard to find, and he couldn’t say no. The conversation doesn’t go so well, with Jim commenting that if Kat wants to get a tan, why doesn’t she just sit on the roof of their apartment block. Jim agrees to try and work something else out, but working out plans for a holiday together isn’t the only issue this couple will face.
Kat and Jim’s world is in the middle of a virus pandemic that some claim could be just a hoax or something far worse yet to come. As Kat and Jim travel to work, they witness a horrible incident that leaves them both extremely disturbed. Given how their morning has gone so far, Jim offers to cook Kat a nice meal for the evening and the two part ways for the day. After parting, Jim visits a local coffee shop, and Kat catches a local train, but it’s not long until wild chaos begins. Ordinary people start to transform into human monsters filled with a desire to torture, commit violence, murder and force themselves sexually upon others. Can Jim and Kat survive the insane nightmare?
If you are not aware, The Sadness is a horror movie filled with countless unsettling moments and scenes containing extreme amounts of violence, gore, blood, and sexual references. The Sadness is also a directional debut from Rob Jabbaz. After conducting some research online, I discovered that Rob is a self-taught animator who has previously created several fully animated short films and music videos and commercials. But how does he go creating a first-time horror film? Well, the answer is, he succeeds quite well.
Firstly, the visual effects (including practical) are downright incredible. Everything from the extreme level of gore, violence, blood, and the crazy level of body horror here is impressive. On multiple occasions, the violence and gore is unsettling to the point that I was filled with fear and shock (this is a great thing!). Many kills also surprised me and disturbed me deeply, and the body count is certainly high. Horror buffs who have seen zombie movies before will enjoy the fresh talent from Rob Jabbaz; the film truly flies high and hits an extreme level that feels fresh and enjoyable.
As a plot, The Sadness carries a basic story, and thankfully, it doesn’t take long for it to get underway and things to become more crazy and bloody. The prime focus is following two different characters who find themselves in various situations, hoping to stay alive. The pace within the first act is fast and exciting, especially once the outbreak begins, but sadly the second act does drop in its level of excitement and storyline. Luckily, it ramps up again for an insane third act. At times, some of the choices the leading characters make may frustrate viewers who find their actions disagreeable considering the horrific situations.
Overall, I am blown away by this film, especially since it is a directional debut focusing on a new level of gruesome horror. Visually, this film is packed with extreme violence and gore, and I felt rather tense and unsettled countless times. It’s a zombie horror movie that doesn’t hold back and delivers an enjoyable time for the vast majority. The film also carries fresh moments in its level of horror, and there’s plenty to be amazed with on-screen. Not every viewer will be able to stomach such a disturbing blood bath, especially relating to the sexual aspects or just how raw and gritty the kills are here, but zombie and horror lovers need to get onto this and enjoy the horror nightmare this film successfully provides.