1999 - Nen no Natsu Yasumi
1988 / 90m - Japan
Drama, Mystery
Summer Vacation 1999 poster


July 30, 2020


An interesting early feature by Shûsuke Kaneko. He's a bit of a cult director who often takes on cheesy franchise projects, but Summer Vacation 1999 isn't as shlocky as most of his other films. It's a pretty moody and intriguing drama/mystery that proves he has more to offer than you'd wager at first glance.

The story begins with the suicide of Yu, a young boy attending a boarding school. Three classmates who bullied Yu remain at the school for the holidays and freak out when they meet the new kid: a boy who is the spitting image of Yu. The three believe Yu has come back to take revenge, but the boy has no idea what they're talking about.

The beginning is very atmospheric, with nice camera work, moody lighting and a solid soundtrack. Performances are pretty good too. The film loses some steam halfway through as it gets a bit too repetitive and the ending isn't as powerful as it could've been. Still, a worthy film from Kaneko that makes me curious about his older work.