Combustible Celluloid
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With: Berant Zhu, Regina Lei, Tzu-Chiang Wang, Emerson Tsai, Wei-Hua Lan, Ralf Chiu, Lue-Keng Huang, Ying-Ru Chen
Written by: Rob Jabbaz
Directed by: Rob Jabbaz
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Mandarin, with English subtitles
Running Time: 99
Date: 05/12/2022

The Sadness (2022)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Foul Plague

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This quasi-zombie film filmed in Taiwan — a feature debut by Canadian filmmaker Rob Jabbaz — may look like most others of its kind, but it has a true dark streak, the courage to really peer into the abyss and at the sick underbelly of humanity. The Sadness begins with the outbreak of a virus, which — tellingly — the government fails to get a handle on, and which many people believe does not exist. But it does, and it turns people into killing (and raping) machines, with blackened eyes and sinister grins. A young couple in Taipei, Kat (Regina Lei) and Jim (Berant Zhu) have breakfast, and then Jim gives Kat a ride to the train station. After she's on her way, Jim is attacked, and he vows to get to Kat to rescue her. Meanwhile, on the train, a middle-aged businessman (Tzu-Chiang Wang) confesses his attraction to Kat, and she rejects him. Unfortunately, the businessman turns into a monster, too, and zeroes his attentions on Kat. There's a lot of chasing, hiding, and escaping, as well as tons of gore, but some of the plot turns in the final third are truly disquieting, and will certainly affect even the most jaded horror fans. This one really got to me.

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