Kū bēi (The Sadness). 2021. Taiwan. Written and directed by Rob Jabbaz. With Berant Zhu, Regina, and Tzu-Chiang Wang. In Mandarin, Taiwanese Hokkien; English subtitles. 99 min.
Headlined “the most violent and depraved zombie movie ever made” on the cover of Rue Morgue magazine, The Sadness is a work of post-pandemic horror for our times. Inspired by the troubling reality of unprovoked violence in everyday settings that fills the daily news, the film reflects a period of profound social instability without the comforting cushion of the supernatural. With a background in animation largely produced in Taipei, Canadian director Rob Jabbaz, supported by a remarkably committed Asian cast, brings his North American sensibility to a film that intentionally takes “place in a Taiwan that was a little more like America.” On screen, no one is spared; from leads to extras, virtually everyone in The Sadness ends up drenched in blood.