Friday, February 12, 2021

Fear of Rain: Movie Review

Good characters pulled in too many directions.

There are a few different ideas at play in Fear of Rain, all revolving around the struggle with schizophrenia and not being sure what is real and what is not real. That’s certainly not new territory for a movie, especially not a thriller, but the movie does have a lot of calm moments in the middle with some thoughtful drama.   2021

Directed by: Castille Landon

Screenplay by: Castille Landon

Starring: Madison Iseman, Harry Connick Jr.

Schizophrenia is often described as being disorienting, and unsurprisingly that’s how this thriller starts. Rain (Madison Iseman) is a teenage girl fighting for her life in the woods and then wakes up in the hospital. People, figures, images going in and out of focus, edited flashbacks, discordant noises. Poor girl has no idea what’s going on. Cheaper movies with poor writing would have extended that into eternity, but luckily Fear of Rain knows it has good characters that deserve the opportunity to be properly introduced.

There are only a few questions of what is real or not real for the audience even though it is a much bigger struggle for Rain.

Rain has had another unfortunate schizophrenic episode and another trip to the hospital, but her parents thus far has been able to convince the doctors that she is better off at home than locked in a psychiatric institute. Her neighbour seems somewhat concerned, but stand-off-ish and weird, her school-mates either hate her or are scared of her so they take every opportunity to make fun of her, and her parents are nice but controlling – after all, she’s a teenage girl and they’re her parents. What I loved about this movie early on is the portrayal of Rain’s struggles with a mental illness but also the everyday struggles a teenage girl would have anyways.

Rain is a very well created character for this genre. It’s easy to identify with her both with her illness and separate from her illness, and I really applaud Iseman’s ability to ground that into something so normal. I can’t really say how accurate the representation of schizophrenia is in the movie – but it seems accurate and feels genuine and heartfelt. Harry Connick Jr. is also good as the dad who just wants to keep his daughter safe but also knows most of her claims are delusional. He named is daughter Rain, though, so he’s not that good of a father.

The main thriller plot is Rain’s insistence that her neighbour has kidnapped a little girl and this girl is screaming at the attic window for help. Nobody else can see or hear her, so it’s a question of is it an hallucination or not? Meanwhile, there’s a new boy at school, one who doesn’t know of Rain’s diagnosis. Caleb (Israel Broussard) is awesome. Rain calls him perfect, and I tend to agree. I spent the whole movie just begging for him to be real, and then they can go and star in a different movie in which Rain is able to get her symptoms under control and nobody has kidnapped little girls and they can just go and be happy teenagers together, but I digress, that’s not this movie.

This movie is a thriller and goes for a high octane, violence-fueled resolution to all the stories. There is one twist which I didn’t see coming and seemed like a pointless diversion at the time, although in hindsight it was telegraphed in advance and actually added a really nice dimension to a Rain-Caleb scene. By the time the two other twists were finally revealed, we already knew them. The ending is both strangely rushed but drawn out at the same time.

Fear of Rain is a solid way to spend the two hours but the calmer drama moments add more to the movie than the typical thriller-horror components.

For other movies with a different take on a similar theme:

  Blood Honey - A much campier, horror take on mental illness.
  I Met a Girl - A more uplifting romantic dramedy tale of schizophrenia.