Regina Lei, Tzu-Chiang Wang, Berant Zhu
Raven Banner Entertainment
“There has truly never been a Taiwanese movie like this... Seriously.”
– Giddens Ko, Writer/Director of MON MON MON MONSTERS, YOU ARE THE APPLE OF MY EYE
“Don't be fooled by its emo title – THE SADNESS breaks ALL the rules and the zombie subgenre will never be the same”
– Andrea Subissati, Editor of RUE MORGUE MAGAZINE
Fantasia rarely gives trigger warnings, but this film warrants all of them. Proceed with caution.
Strap yourself in for the most intense freakout of a transgressive horror rollercoaster to smash through cinemas in ages. In an alternate version of Taiwan, a rapidly spreading pandemic that the government has largely chosen to ignore suddenly mutates into a rabies-like affliction. The infected find themselves unable to control their id, acting on their every primal impulse. Limbs are torn, faces are peeled, everything becomes a weapon – or an orifice – and anything could happen. Anywhere. Everywhere. In the midst of escalating, city-wide ultra-violence, a young couple on opposite sides of town struggle to re-connect. And that’s all you need to know!
A nightmare vision steeped in unspeakably upsetting moments of cruelty, THE SADNESS in many ways plays like a return to the assaulting no-holds-barred shock sensibilities of ’90s Hong Kong Category III films. Think RED TO KILL, UNTOLD STORY, and particularly EBOLA SYNDROME, which as it turns out was central to its roots. In fact, director Rob Jabbaz, a Canadian filmmaker based in Taiwan, cites a Fantasia screening of the notorious Herman Yau shocker as a formative experience. “It really felt like anything could happen. This film was not at the mercy of normal standards of decency. Sitting in the cinema, I actually felt in danger.” THE SADNESS captures that sensibility and uses it as a mere starting point, barrelling its audience through set-piece after set-piece that defy description, with a stylistic force of execution that’s just incredible. This is a film electrified with an existential fear of random violence that punches spikes of panic energy straight into your nervous system. All told with imagination and flair, along with stabbing social commentary and mountains of gruesome prosthetic make-ups. – Mitch Davis
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