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John’s Horror Corner: The Sadness (2021; aka, Ku bei), The Purge meets a bad case of rabies in this CRAZY Taiwanese viral outbreak movie.

May 12, 2022

MY CALL:  This film is extremely violent, extremely bloody, extremely cruel, and extremely graphic. I love it!  MORE MOVIES LIKE The SadnessThis would best double feature with Train to Busan (2016). For more non-zombie murderous outbreak movies, consider the likes of 28 Days Later (2002), The Signal (2007) and The Happening (2008).

I’ll give the obvious warning to those who don’t like subtitles, this is a foreign language movie—Mandarin Chinese. At least at the time I saw this, I had no access to English audio.

Quite deliberately parallel to our own COVID realities, this is about a viral pandemic in Asia over which doctors are fearful of mutations and the public is skeptical of the public health “scare tactics” employed during a major election year. The virus is claimed as a media treasure trove of hoax misinformation. That is… until a novel mutation hits the population.

This virus now induces a 28 Days Later (2002)-like rage, where a bad case of rabies from Hell infects the populace to act on the very worst they can fantasize to such end that Train to Busan’s (2016) zombie outbreak feels civil in comparison.

Those infected with this virus seem to access the darkest, most insidious fantasies, urges and compulsions in their subconscious and act on them, devoid of conscience or morals or social awareness. We witness someone dump the contents of an oily scalding kitchen fryer on a man’s head and then claw off his softened blistering melty flesh; we see disturbing things happen to disturbed elderly people; limb-breaking torture with a smile; throats and noses and Achilles’ tendons are viciously torn by animalistic biting; and exploding and slimy bludgeoned macerated heads! Director and writer Rob Jabbaz (Lake Bodom) does well making us feel it when innocents suffer.

All the while, we follow our protagonists Jim and Kat as they try to navigate the infernal chaos and reach each other, relying on the help of the rare remaining compassionate passerby. Excepting some short breaks, this movie is a non-stop deathgasm of gory violence. Gouts of blood jettison across the screen as killers’ faces are awash with sanguine ecstasy. The blood looks REALLY GOOD! And the sludgy blood and latex wound work is outstanding.

This film is extremely violent, extremely bloody, extremely cruel, and extremely graphic. I love it! Completely unfettered murderous madness. Now we know what induced that horrifying “death orgy” montage in Event Horizon (1997). Clearly, they just caught a case of Lovecraftian madness and slipped into the infernal depravity of their subconscious Purge Night after contracting this virus.

For gorehounds and extreme horror fans, this is high well-produced delight. It’s very well made, and unrelenting in its violence.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2022 12:21 pm

    This sounds awesome! Thanks for the review. While trying to see where I could watch it I stumbled across what might be a Korean goodie- The 8th Night. Now I have two to watch.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      May 15, 2022 12:27 pm

      Just watched the trailer for The 8th Night on Netflix. And now it’s in my queue, too! 😉

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