Review: The Sadness is a depraved, ultra-violent delight

This is, by far, the most violent film I've seen this year and I absolutely loved it.

The Sadness is definitely not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, but fans of splatter films, proper zombie flicks and extreme cinema in general should jump at the chance to see this at the 2021 NZ International Film Festival.

It's an awesome addition to the rage virus/crazed maniacs subgenre of zombie films and pushes things to crazy extremes.

This has surely got a shot at breaking the record for the most fake blood used in any film ever. The bloodthirsty maniacs are also sex-crazed, which means viewers should take the trigger warnings seriously as things get intensely nasty.

The Sadness is also a screaming social allegory. Things kick off mid-global pandemic where a mutated version of the virus has scientists terrified, but populist YouTubers and cynical politicians put enough doubt in the public's mind to avoid another lockdown.

Of course, all hell breaks loose and the bodies quickly start to pile up.

Plot-wise - aside from what can be read as a commentary on reactions to COVID-19 - there's not a lot of originality to The Sadness; but there is originality where it matters much more in a film like this: With the violence.

Splatter movies are hard to keep entertaining these days. When I was growing up, films like Dawn of the Dead were legendary for moments of full-on gore that were, at the time, very hard to pull off.

These days, advances in special effects mean it's relatively easy for filmmakers to create ultraviolence onscreen, but now we've seen so much of it it's harder to impress with it and keep us entertained.

The Sadness is wildly entertaining from beginning to end with a wonderful rhythm and pace, and some truly inventive carnage that's a delight for fans of this sort of thing.

While some seriously obscene actions are committed in this film, it wisely isn't graphic with the most extreme stuff. Expect to see dismemberment and other examples of stomach-churning gore shown explicitly, but the most taboo forms of violence - including the sexual kind - are more hinted at than shown in detail.

If this all sounds sick and like the opposite of entertainment to you, avoid this film at all costs. If you've read this review with a grin on your face, I assure you that grin will be considerably larger as you watch this wickedly depraved splatter-fest.

Four-and-a-half stars.