(2000, Jap, 91 min) Dir Hiroya Hino. Cast Yukie Inoue, Mitsuo Ibaraki, Kon Ito.
Based on the Japanese urban legend of the masked doctor. In case you haven’t heard of it, it goes like this – you’re on your own and you fall maybe and hurt yourself and from a nearby side street or even from out of the bushes appears this man in a long white coat and a surgical mask offering to help. If this ever happens to you get up and run as fast as you can no matter how badly you’re hurt – the legend goes that if this mysterious helpful passerby were to lift up his mask you wouldn’t return to tell people what you saw. So how has this slim premise become another film in the J-Horror canon? Nanako is at home one day waiting for her son Rikiya to get home from school but he never arrives. Asking about she hears from one of his classmates that he saw Rikiya fall and a tall man in a white coat and face mask appear to help him. The young boy won’t tell her any more. Later, when the old man Hiroyuki turns up at her doorstep to tell her about his own son who went missing thirty years before and shows her the drawing of the masked man, at that point Nanako’s desperate search is on. An eerie urban nightmare in a rare display of restraint from director Hino (Dark Tentacles, the uncomfortable Gynaecologist series).