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The Sadness – Fantasia 2021

the-sadness

The Sadness – Fantasia 2021

Synopsis:
After a year of combating a pandemic with relatively benign symptoms, a frustrated nation finally lets its guard down. This is when the virus spontaneously mutates, giving rise to a mind-altering plague. The streets erupt into violence and depravity, as those infected are driven to enact the most cruel and ghastly things they can think of. Murder, torture, rape and mutilation are only the beginning. A young couple is pushed to the limits of sanity as they try to reunite amid the chaos. The age of civility and order is no more. There is only “The Sadness”.
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A viral pandemic turns people into violent and depraved maniacs in . In Taiwan, there is concern over the spread of the Alvin virus, which sports similar characteristics to rabies, however, the government excuses it as being no more serious than the flu. Jim () and Kat () are a couple who get up and go about their separate ways for a seemingly normal day. However, the virus suddenly mutates, and the infected lose control of their limbic systems, resulting in uninhibited violent acts and sexual depravity. Kat ends up trapped in the hospital, pursued by a sadistic ax-wielding businessman () and Jim rushes to try and save her on time.

The Sadness is the feature film debut for Mississauga-born, Tawain-based filmmaker Rob Jabbaz. The plot of the film is not-so-subtly inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic and how governments set out to politicize the virus, as opposed to taking serious preventive measures. In what is possibly the worst-case scenario for a pandemic, the infected soon begin turning into red-eyed, grinning psychos, who take immense pleasure in committing extreme acts of rape and violence. The plot focuses on a young couple, who are separated when the chaos begins and fight to reunite and get to safety.

Most have been describing The Sadness as a zombie film, though it's a zombie film in the same way as Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later and David Cronenberg's Rabid, in how the “zombies” are crazed individuals, rather than the undead. I'm going to be blunt and say that The Sadness is not a pleasant viewing experience and despite being a celebration of practical violence and gore, it features reprehensible acts of both a violent and sexual nature that can be triggering for some. As such, I can't fully recommend The Sadness, no matter how much of a gorehound you are.

The Sadness screened as part of the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival


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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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