Fear of Rain is a 2021 psychological thriller written and directed by Castille Brandon, which follows a young woman with schizophrenia struggling to deal with her hallucinations. While this tries very hard to make you as a viewer question what’s real and what isn’t, ultimately it comes off as a little too predictable.
Madison Iseman stars as Rain, a young woman suffering from early-onset schizophrenia. From the outset, we get to see the truly disturbing nature of Rain’s condition, as we see her running for her life in a forest from a hooded assailant. She’s caught, bound and buried alive, but none of it is real. Instead, Rain is secured and sedated after being admitted into hospital after a severe episode, much to the concern of her parents, Michelle (Katherine Heigl) and John (Harry Connick Jr). As Rain returns home, through flashbacks and conversations with her psychiatrist Dr Pangloss (Enuka Okuma) we find out what really happened during her episode and the reason, with Rain having stopped taking her medication as it ruins her creativity when painting.
Despite her parents’ misgivings, Rain returns to school and meets new kid Caleb (Israel Broussard), who takes a liking to her. However, despite claiming to be taking her medication, Rain continues to experience disturbing hallucinations which eventually lead her to believe that her neighbour and teacher Dani (Eugenie Bondurant), has kidnapped a young child. Determined to investigate and save the child, Rain must now battle her hallucinations and her parents to figure out what is real and whether it’s all in her head.
The biggest problem with Fear of Rain is that it is far too predictable when it comes to guessing what is and isn’t real, which results in a rather underwhelming experience. From the very beginning, we’re shown how extreme Rain’s hallucinations are, so the scepticism and doubt are sown at an early stage. Because of this, it makes you pay more attention to the hints and clues as to what’s really going on and some of these are very obvious, to the point where you start to wonder if the filmmakers have underestimated the audience’s intelligence. And once you’ve figured out the little twist partway through, you can easily figure out the rest. The ending too sadly takes the more predictable route, which is a shame as had this turned out differently it may have at least partly made up for the other predictable aspects.
This also seems a little confused as to what type of film it is. There are parts that would fit in well with a full-on horror film, whereas there are some other more touching scenes with Rain discussing her condition that would work well in a serious drama. But overall this mix of genres just doesn’t work. I don’t know a lot about schizophrenia but I’m not sure the film has handled mental illness well and had they concentrated on the serious illness side rather than a run of the mill psychological thriller, it could’ve been much more successful. Madison Iseman proves she can handle all aspects of this role, especially the serious and sombre side, so it’s a shame that the plot doesn’t match her talents. The rest of the cast can’t match up to her performance, and while none of them is bad, none are particularly memorable either.
Fear of Rain had some promise, with a haunting score and a brilliant lead in Madison Iseman, however, the confused and predictable plot, along with some very tired and overused horror style tropes, let it down. If it had taken a risk and focused on the serious side of this mental illness, rather than give us small hints at the seriousness beneath, it could’ve been so much better.
Signature Entertainment presents Fear of Rain on Digital Platforms 26th April
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