New York Asian Film Festival’s review published on Letterboxd:
“It’s been concluded that this could be a time slip situation”.
Inspired by the classic horror manga of the same name and directed by the visionary Nobuhiko Obayashi, “The Drifting Classroom” (1987) does to disaster movies what “House” (1977) did for the haunted house film.
Middle school student Sho Takamatsu has just come back from living in the United States and he is feeling full of himself. Wearing a jacket that says “American Dream” on the back, he is at an age where he feels rebellious and nasty enough to tell his loving mother to “Take Your Japanese and Shove It!”
But that same morning at Sho’s international school, Sho, his teachers, and his mostly English speaking classmates are transported to a post-apocalyptic wasteland by means of a supernatural earthquake. There, they encounter deadly sandstorms, otherworldly crab monsters, and the collapse of all social norms.
Dripping with ironic Americana, Obayashi weaves his signature strange blend of melodrama and horror into a reimagining of Lord of the Flies. Only through horrible ordeal after another does Sho grow to supersede his strange new world to gain control of his destiny. He becomes the “founding father” of a community that will build a new world out of the ruins of the old: leading the film to a surreal and saccharine sweet finale. - Filipe, NYAFF Staff