THE SADNESS (2021) 24 reviews of must-see Taiwanese horror on Shudder! New clip!

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The Sadness is available exclusively on Shudder in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand on Thursday, May 12, 2022. The streaming service has posted a new clip online:

Said Craig Engler, general manager of Shudder, “The Sadness is a brutal, boundary-pushing shocker, one of the boldest and bloodiest we’ve ever acquired. We anticipate it having a legendary and well-deserved following among Shudder members.”

The Sadness was shot in Taipei, Taiwan where Canadian writer/director Rob Jabbaz, originally from Mississauga, Ontario, now resides and follows a young couple, played by Regina Lei (76 Horror Bookstore) and Berant Zhu (We Are Champions, How to Train Our Dragon), trying to reunite amid a city ravaged by a plague that turns its victims into deranged, bloodthirsty sadists.

Tzu Chiang Wang (It’s Drizzling) and In Ru Chen also star. The film is produced by David Barker and executive produced by Li-Cheng Huang, while Eunice Cheng associate produced for Machi Xcelsior Studios.

“It’s been such an enjoyably bizarre journey getting The Sadness made and distributed! I’m incredibly excited for everyone out there to finally see it!” said Rob Jabbaz.

The Sadness shocked audiences around the globe and was renowned for receiving trigger warnings from genre festival programmers who had never before felt the need to use such labels. Likened as a return to transgressive ’90s Hong Kong Category III exploitation films by Fantasia Artistic Director Mitch Davis, Toronto-based sales and distribution company Raven Banner Entertainment represents the title worldwide and will release it in Canada, and said on the acquisition by Shudder:

“From the moment we first saw The Sadness, we knew this was something special. The film reaches heights rarely attained in the horror space. Rob Jabbaz is definitely a talent to watch,” said Raven Banner’s Managing Partner, Michael Paszt “Shudder is hands down the home for The Sadness and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them.”

Meanwhile, here’s our previous coverage of The Sadness:

The Sadness is a 2021 Taiwanese science fiction horror film about a deadly virus that causes human beings to mutate into zombies.

Written and directed by Canadian-born Rob Jabbaz – making his feature debut – the movie stars Berant Zhu (We Are Champions; How to Train Our Dragon), Regina, Tzu-Chiang Wang, Ralf Chiu and Ying-Ru Chen.

Many human beings have been infected by a new type of virus and begin to mutate, and attack innocent people. Meanwhile, others try to find a cure. With the spread of the new virus, people all over the world are becoming numb to the situation. No one believes that the mutation of the virus and the Tibet crisis is coming. Junzhe and his girlfriend Kai Ting discuss when the epidemic will end, but try to continue their lives as normal.

One morning, after Junzhe drives Kai Ting to work they become separated, having witnessed attacks by unknown thugs: including the breakfast shop owner being beaten and bitten by his grandmother, the neighbour next door running into the street with a weapon, and frequent rabid riots in various places.

Panic and screams spread throughout the city. Infected anomalous humans are everywhere. Who can survive the horror of violence and killing? How does Junzhe find a way to survive and save his beloved girlfriend who is missing?

Our view:
For once, the online buzz about a new horror movie proves to be genuine. The Sadness is a well-filmed, brutal, transgressive film. And it’s even more impressive that this is writer-director Rob Jabbaz’s first feature. Initially, he teases us with a seemingly innocuous opening that focuses on the trivial details of getting ready for work.


However, it soon becomes clear that there’s a virus rampaging through the populace and the action becomes frenetic and extremely splattery. Without wanting to go into spoilers, the horror is also deeply disturbing. Jabbaz really doesn’t hold much back, although there are rumours his initial edit was even more outrageous.

The pace slows in the final section and includes some political barbs. But by then the grisly and shocking goings-on really needed some context so it’s understandable there needs to be some reflection. The ending is perhaps too predictable, which is a shame, yet The Sadness remains a genuine eye-opener and a welcome reminder that horror can still push the boundaries of what’s considered entertainment. Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:

“The genre’s not really my cup of tea, personally, but the director knew what he was setting out to do, and he surpassed my expectations on a technical and storytelling level with flying colors.” Big Chungus

“It quickly becomes apparent that The Sadness refuses to adhere to the average viral horror movie. Jabbaz keeps a death grip on the pulse of the current climate, delivering a rage-filled manifesto that aims to every cinematic taboo possible and tests your gag reflex in the process. It’s transgressive horror of the highest, most aggressive order.” Bloody Disgusting

“The film doesn’t quite manage to sustain itself throughout and it does lose a bit of momentum as it goes on […] The Sadness is a film told with a huge amount of skill and flair as well as buckets and buckets and even more buckets of fake blood. It’s insanely horrific and visceral and simply put, it is the most brutal film you will see this year.” Coastal House Media

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