April 14, 2024

THE SADNESS (TAIWANESE) (2022) – Exploitative rubbish with exaggerated violence and vulgarities


Rating: ⭐

Canadian writer, director Rob Jabbaz’s Taiwanese horror movie is a shameless piece of film making that showcases the worst elements of the genre. The Sadness offers a continuous string of increasingly violent and revolting scenes of torture, and killings with no resemblance of any logical plot. I personally enjoy watching horror movies but not when there is little plot or logic, and when the violence is presented simply for shock value. The dialogue in the film is entirely in mandarin and a heavily accented form of Hokkien that is used by the locals that would be hard to understand without subtitles.

Central to the premise of The Sadness is a zombies like pandemic that spreads in Taiwan. On paper this actually sounds like a refreshing take on a familiar theme but Jabbaz is not interested in providing any foundation to his story. The zombies here behave to the whims and fancy of how the story progresses. Some zombies are the typical ones we are familiar with, mindless, and always hungry for human flesh. Whereas others appear to have a mind of their own, being able to speak and stalk selected victims with a purpose! It is also unclear how the ”disease” spreads. Some seem to be infected within seconds of being attacked while others take practically the entire length of the movie to be infected! All these illogical behaviour merely serves to support the ridiculous situations that befalls upon our two main characters (a young couple separated and trying to find each other amidst the mayhem).

The young couple as played by Regina Lei and Berant Zhu are as listless as the movie. Their bond is unconvincing and their love was never that strongly presented in the first place. So we not only have to put up with a bad and illogical plot, but also bad acting. But perhaps the worst crime committed here are the continuous flow of violent scenes which are exaggerated and often deliberately vulgar to provide the shock effect. The make up effects looked amateurish and literally buckets of ”blood” were used which again, merely emphasized the unrealistic and sensational feel of the wh. The way the ”zombies” go about their kills were also laughably illogical. While some go about the usual catch and chew off flesh of their victims, others, particularly the ones that stalks our key characters, chose to select their victims, and use axes or cutters which are conveniently available, to hunt them down. Rob Jabbaz seem to be confused and undecided as to whether he is making a zombies movie or slash flic.

It is just the month of May but The Sadness is one tough act to beat for the honour of being the worst movie of the year. Rob Jabbaz is certainly a name to look out for in future, for whose works are to be avoided. I regret watching this and now have to pay my penance by trying hard to forget what I have seen. I guess one can say that the real horror that lies in The Sadness is in the misfortune of all its viewers cursed with the images that they have seen and now have to make an effort to erase from their memories.

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