A sharp social commentary fights for breath under gallons of grue and viscera, as a young couple fight to reunite across a city overrun by violent sex-crazed maniacs in Rob Jabbaz’ ferocious debut.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2021
Strap yourselves in folks, as things are about to get very messy and very nasty.
Rob Jabbaz's extremely transgressive Taiwanese splatter film The Sadness, a jarring, no-holds-barred manifesto on the disastrous mishandling of a viral pandemic, is leaving audiences both shattered and polarised. Some may find its unflinching excesses (every body part is defiled) and queasy dark humour simply too much to bear, but for those made of sterner stuff, this one-way trip to hell is one they won’t want to miss.
A pandemic has spread throughout the world, but as Taipei reopens following a lockdown, the benign virus mutates, transforming citizens into homicidal rage-fuelled maniacs whose every deplorable hidden desire festers to the surface in an avalanche of unimaginable horror. A young couple, Jim and Kat are separated and forced to confront the worst of humanity as they claw their way back through the city to reunite with each other.
Directing like he’s on bath salts and adrenaline, Jabbaz steps on the gas when most filmmakers would choose to brake for fear of audience retribution – making this one ballsy fuck-you debut we can get behind. — AT
“Trigger warnings accompanying The Sadness at the Fantasia International Film Festival are no joke. The acts of violence writer-director Rob Jabbaz has his characters inflict upon each other are as depraved as can be and seemingly devoid of remorse. It often feels like an Aphex Twin music video with enraged men and women stopping to turn and grin with blackened eyes before pouncing on their latest targets with relish.” — Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage