AMC Network’s Shudder has acquired rights to Canadian director Rob Jabbaz’s feature debut, The Sadness. The film stars Regina Lei (76 Horror Bookstore) and Berant Zhu (We Are Champions, How to Train Our Dragon), and will launch exclusively on the premium horror thriller streamer beginning May 12 in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
The Sadness was shot in Taipei, Taiwan, and and follows a young couple trying to reunite amid a city ravaged by a plague that turns its victims into deranged, bloodthirsty sadists. The film had an impressive festival run that began at the prestigious 74th annual Locarno Film Festival, and celebrated screenings at the Fantasia International Film Festival and Fantastic Fest, where the film took awards for Best First Feature in Montreal and for Best Horror and Best Direction in Austin. Our review is available here following its Fantasia run.
Said Craig Engler, general manager of Shudder, “The Sadness is a brutal, boundary pushing shocker, one of the boldest and bloodiest we’ve ever acquired. We anticipate it having a legendary and well-deserved following among Shudder members.”
The film also stars Tzu Chiang Wang (It’s Drizzling) and In Ru Chen, and is produced by David Barker and executive produced by Li-Cheng Huang, while Eunice Cheng associate produced for Machi Xcelsior Studios.
“It’s been such an enjoyably bizarre journey getting The Sadness made and distributed! I’m incredibly excited for everyone out there to finally see it!” said Rob Jabbaz.
The Sadness shocked audiences around the globe and was renowned for receiving trigger warnings from genre festival programmers who had never before felt the need to use such labels. Likened to as a return to transgressive ’90s Hong Kong Category III exploitation films by Fantasia Artistic Director Mitch Davis, Toronto-based sales and distribution company Raven Banner Entertainment represents the title worldwide and will release it in Canada, and said on the acquisition by Shudder:
“From the moment we first saw The Sadness, we knew this was something special. The film reaches heights rarely attained in the horror space. Rob Jabbaz is definitely a talent to watch,” said Raven Banner’s Managing Partner, Michael Paszt “Shudder is hands down the home for The Sadness and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them.”
The deal was negotiated by Raven Banner’s Michael Paszt and James Fler on behalf of the filmmakers, and Emily Gotto, VP, Global Acquisitions & Co-Productions on behalf of Shudder.