The Sadness (哭悲, 2021)

The Sadness (2021)

Director (and writer): Rob Jabbaz

Cast: Berant Zhu, Regina Lei, Ying-Ru Chen, Tzu-Chiang Wang, Emerson Tsai, Wei-Hua Lan, Ralf Chiu

A young couple trying to reunite amid a city ravaged by a plague that turns its victims into deranged, bloodthirsty sadists. – IMDB

The feature film directorial debut for Canadian filmmaker Rob Jabbaz is a Taiwanese horror gorefest. Heavily inspired by the Cross comic book series, The Sadness sets in a viral pandemic called Alvin Virus that infects its victims making them fulfill their homicidal desires from extreme violence to rape. Basically just think about the most maniacal, bloodthirsty and wrongest things that could happen that The Sadness manages to get it in, probably even some of it being unthinkably horrible. While horror isn’t normally a go-to for Taiwanese films, Rob Jabbaz makes this one completely out of control. The gore element delivers to a disturbing level and this film is definitely not for the weak stomached and is full of all kinds of trigger warnings. For those who love this sort of film, this one goes for both a visual gore fest but also keeps some more disturbing elements off camera for your own imagination to fill in the blanks.

The Sadness builds its story around two perspectives which are from the two characters who are a couple called Cat (Regina Lei) and Jim (Berant Zhu) trying to reunite amidst the craziness that is surrounding them. Cat and Jim has a pretty thin back story from the start but does craft them through the little disagreement at the beginning in their fairly mundane life of two youths trying to make a career with Kat heading off to work while Jim takes her to work but is between jobs. When the viral outbreak starts, the two set off on different paths which gives way for an array of different scenarios to occur from the mountainous secluded areas to the tight spaced subway car and station tunnels to its big finale at the hospital. This viral outbreak crafts different groups of infected and the film touches on all of it even if its not as extensive as the homicidal elements especially focused on one older man (Tzu-Chiang Wang) who can be considered as the main villain of the film. And oh boy, does the script take his character far into the depths of the worst impulses triggered by this virus.

As I consider whether this film is just about presenting something very on the surface with its extremity and using a viral outbreak to craft a scenario suitable for it, the story does reflect a bit on society and its doubts and ignorance but also the virus itself does have a little moment at the beginning and the final acts when its basically outwardly discussed. However, as much as its not really talked about, there are little signs here and there that help paint a picture of what it is and makes you think a little more about what it does and why the film itself is titled The Sadness. There’s still a small part in my mind that thinks the actual nature of the virus should have more explanation but there is a power in not explaining too much since it brings in a different element of unknown as to when the trigger point of the virus attacks the infected.

Overall, The Sadness is a crazy ride: gory, blood-soaked, gut-wrenching, disgusting, sitting on a ton of trigger warning. Its definitely not for everyone. For myself, its really does get a little extreme at certain points and one scene in particular really did bother me quite a bit. However, there’s a lot to appreciate about The Sadness and its mostly the ability to push the content and go all the way. There are some low budget practical effects and then some contrasts in music selection to what’s happening on scene and a myriad of ways that people are killing each other and yet somehow, it all does work together, even if the main characters Cat and Jim are not exactly well-constructed but they do feel relatively realistic and human.

* The Sadness will premiere theatrically across Canada on April 29th and 30th in selected theatres. Starting May 12th, it will then be available as VOD on iTunes (preorder on April 26), Cineplex on Demand, Shaw VOD, Vimeo on Demand as well as landing on Shudder Canada. The Sadness will also be available on May 12th on Shudder USA, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.*

*Screener received by GatPR*

Horror Marathon: Saw VI (2009) #horror #Saw #SawVI #Franchise

Moving along with quite well with the Saw franchise and we are at the 6th movie. Its becoming wildly apparent that this is one long story that can’t be really reviewed by part however, we will try.

Lets go!

Saw VI (2009)

Saw VI

Director: Kevin Greutert

Cast: Costas Mandylor, Tobin Bell, Mark Rolston, Betsy Russell, Peter Outerbridge, Shawnee Smith, Athena Karkanis

Agent Strahm is dead, and FBI agent Erickson draws nearer to Hoffman. Meanwhile, a pair of insurance executives find themselves in another game set by Jigsaw.-IMDB

NOOO!!! Scott Patterson’s Agent Strahm is dead. He was my highlight in the last two movies. At least he died pretty epicly, sort of.

I never thought that I would say this at this point in the franchise but the sixth movie breathed some life back into the franchise. However, since the last two movies, I haven’t been able to watch any of the first victims/games because its just incredibly disgusting. Gore and torture porn doesn’t normal bother me a lot but its probably the watching back to back of them that has caused a decrease tolerance. So, I was pretty nauseous in that first part because the sound effects made me also imagine what was going on and I have one outrageous imagination. And actually because of that beginning, I went into this sixth one quite bitter and angry for this opening direction. Lets just say I’m fed up of the gore which doesn’t make sense because this is what I had originally thought Saw franchise was all about.

Saw VI

To be fair, Saw VI is quite good. In terms of the direction of the story, it starts lining up with Jigsaw’s last game in his will and reveals the answer as to other person or people involved. The question at this point (and before) is always how do these people caught in the game relate to Jigsaw? How did they meet and what bad things have these people done? Jigsaw’s captives are rarely people who have done nothing and here is where this film excels. The story itself highlights Jigsaw’s mentality in spades about the morality and ethics. The backstory of everyone’s involvement is what links all the movies together but this story really brings out the why for Jigsaw’s action especially when his mantra is cherish your life and yet the guy caught in the game is stuck in making decisions to essentially use his formula on the people he knows and make him question his choices. What I did like the best was actually the way Saw VI manages to keep its tension and momentum and really keep us guessing to the end which was quite a twist. Good job on the switch in director to Kevin Greutert who seems take the gore a little too seriously still manages to balance it well enough in the psychological department to make it work.

Saw VI

While I do praise this instalment and had a good bit of enjoyment from it, which is surprising considering I was angry at it when the movie started, there are still flaws. It mostly goes down to our character making predictable choices. However, it might just fall into how well we know Jigsaw’s puzzle concepts particularly under time crunch blended with the guy in the game who does a decent performance. Or maybe, its just my expectations are so low that it didn’t matter anymore so there was more enjoyment because of that.

Overall, Saw VI does a decent job here. It makes the The Final Chapter (which we know is a lie since theres a new movie out in a week or so) a little more promising. How will they end it?

Did you watch Saw VI? 

Horror Marathon: Saw III (2006)

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadian friends! 🙂

We continue our horror marathon with the next Saw entry, Saw III. At this point of the franchise, I went into this not exactly sure where it will go. The second one was lackluster and the first was really good. However, this is still at the helms of the sequel’s director so lets just say expectations weren’t particularly high.  Let’s just jump right in!

Saw III (2006)

Saw III

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Cast: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus Macfadyen, Bahar Soomekh, Dina Meyer, Lyriq Bent

Jigsaw kidnaps a doctor named Lynn denlon to keep him alive while he watches his new apprentice put an unlucky citizen named Jeff through a brutal test. Lynn has to keep jigsaw alive until Jeff completes the test or else Lynn will die – IMDB

Saw III takes a turn with a really different vibe. At this point, if you haven’t read the last two, this one is going to have certain spoilers relating to the flow of the story. In the previous one, we’ve learned that Jigsaw has an apprentice in the one girl that has escaped in the first one, Amanda Young. Jigsaw is on his death bed and both him and Amanda are trying to keep him alive in this last elaborate trap/redemption for a man who has lost his child and lives in mourning. However, Saw III takes a different approach as it has very much a more gory and disgusting choice in its scenes than the first two. There are some truly gut-wrenching scenes in particular one death scene. Saw III so far is the weakest of the three so far in the franchise and that comes with somewhat of a lackluster build-up even if its ending tries very hard to be clever to link back events and characters to make it find its worth.

Saw III

Saw III, like the previous ones, takes us on two primary storylines. One is of Jeff and the other of the psychological battle of the doctor kidnapped to try to make sure Jigsaw survives. Since I enjoy these Jigsaw bits more and through his conversation, understanding his character a little more, this part is the stronger part, however, it does feel so pointless at parts because it focuses on Amanda Young who seems to have this toxic relationship with Jigsaw (but then, Jigsaw is a pretty toxic character with some warped sense of life), whereas she seems to be a very extreme character leading her to some of the tense moments while seeing how she is also weak. In fact, Shawnee Smith does a decent job at this character. The fault might be in the writing being slightly convoluted in showcasing her character as Amanda Young.

Saw III

On the other hand, Jeff’s storyline leads us to most of the gory parts as he needs to face one obstacle after the next. These obstacles are truly a psychological battle as Jigsaw tests his stubbornness of holding onto his grief and not letting go to continue to see what he has and be grateful for those things. It all seems like such an obstacle because in the first one, there is  a connection for the people he’s captured. This one, we wonder why he’s captured him. I mean, Jigsaw is a pretty intricate man. He picks his victims with purpose. Instead, here we see a lot of pieces lined together from the opening scenes and such to picking Jeff. Of course, Jeff is a character that is battling with his own emotions however, it feels so dull to keep watching him go through one person to the next that could have been responsible for his child’s death not having justice or treated correctly, etc.

To be fair, Saw III does pull the story together at the end. Just like the second one, the ending is its strength however, it hardly justifies the very lackluster beginning and middle sections that only try to make us wonder in dumb dialogue and gory and disgusting moments. Saw III is one that I didn’t enjoy a lot. It had a clever ending and for that, it did take me by surprise slightly although at a certain part, I had started piecing everything together. However, it is my least favorite till now.

That’s for for this review! Did you see Saw III?
Saw III makes worry about where the next one will go. At least there’s Scott Patterson, right?