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The Sadness: Review – film reviews, interviews, features

Jim (Berant Zhu) and Kat (Regina Lei) are a couple who are having the best time in their relationship. They have their differences though and occasionally Jim will put his foot in it, but otherwise they are an idyllic couple.

The news is talking about a virus and there are some very worried experts, but most people think it’s no worse than the flu, so they carry on with their lives. However, Jim sees a woman covered in blood on a rooftop who has a dark stare which worries him and before he realises it, the virus takes hold.

The Sadness is a Taiwanese zombie movie with a difference. Whereas in most zombie movies, the infected become mindless and either stumble about slowly or run around in a red mist of rage, The Sadness gives its victims full awareness of their actions and removes their inhibitions. The excuse is that the virus makes people rely on their most basic instincts, but what it really does is mix in sex amongst all the blood and gore.

When Night of the Living Dead was released, it was to critical acclaim, because alongside the horror aspect was social commentary which gave horror a new spin. However, The Sadness doesn’t seem to have this kind of social commentary because the virus can affect anybody and can change a character’s personality in seconds.

Therefore, even the most sympathetic characters don’t stand a chance and when they do get infected, the audience doesn’t feel for them as they should because rather than dying, they just become as bad as the others.

The excuse starts to wear thin pretty quickly too, as at first the story follows Jim, but then turns to Kat’s ordeal as she seems to be in the centre of the chaos. This means that the protagonist is now a seemingly weak and defenceless woman who has to navigate her way around as many of the infected try to have their way with her.

For a zombie movie, it almost seems to revel in the idea of its lead character getting mutilated and defiled in the worst ways possible. For those who love their blood and gore then the movie delivers on its practical effects. However, the tone and direction the movie may seem to be going feels like it wants to shock rather than tell a story.

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