What’s even more impressive is that the rest of this relentlessly violent film is as mean as it is disgusting. Jabbaz’s basic but compelling chase narrative is not really about the representative evil of humans as groups, but rather humans as universally flawed individuals. Not only do the infected monsters in Sadness run, curse, and verbally threaten everyone else—their violence also inadvertently highlights the ugly, immoral nature of the various fight-or-flight responses.
Like many disaster films, Sorrow only scratches the surface of the reunion of two lovers: Jim (Berant Zhu) and Cat (Regina Lei) attempt to reunite after being separated by a surge of Alvin’s mysterious virus, and also forces various infected victims to commit random acts of murder, torture and sexual assault. The Infected live to make everyone else suffer, which can be quite overwhelming (to viewers) given that the Infected are instantly forced to hurt or be hurt by others.
The black-eyed monsters in Sadness also bring out the worst in everyone around them, even the Samaritans and other victims we might want to root for. The Alvin virus in this sense does not have a special character, but rather has a general destabilizing effect. For example: Cat is stalked by an unnamed businessman (Zi-Chang Wang) who, before becoming an axe-wielding monster, tries to talk to her on the subway (against her wishes). Most of the other victims of the Alvin virus serve as interchangeable threats. Because while Alvin’s virus mutates humanity, it doesn’t really change us: they’re all ugly, because everyone in Sadness has a moment or two of unsettling, character-testing weakness.
Jabbaz’s film would probably be pretty tedious if he and his co-writers weren’t so good at coming up with excuses to be rude. They’re hardcore bullies, and the zombie-like violence in «Grief» often works, despite its penchant for creepy creepy humor. Zombie fans may notice similarities between the depraved mutants in «Sadness» and the equally vicious cannibals in crossed, a gore-soaked and confrontationally ugly comic series (and an acclaimed influence) that follows a plague of dystopian bloodletting. In both cases, the monsters seem to know what they are doing because they can not only run and move at human speed, but also verbally taunt their victims. One of the characters in «Sadness» points out that the infected need to take pleasure in the suffering of their victims, which explains why they do not attack each other.