As a parent, you will always be there for your children. You support them through thick and thin in the hope to give them a life full of happiness, love and much more. But what if your daughter has severe schizophrenia? How do you deal with that? Do you support her, knowing that what she says might not be true at all or do you doubt her and try to make sense of it but which may lead to a troubled parent-daughter relationship? You get to know the answer in “Fear of Rain”, the psychological thriller by writer/director Castille Brandon (“Apple of My Eye”, “Albion: The Enchanted Stallion”). Just not sure whether you will find it predictable or not.
The young woman Rain, portrayed beautifully by Madison Iseman, suffers from early-onset schizophrenia. As if living with that disease isn’t enough, we see her running for her life when assaulted by her killer. She’s being caught, bound and buried alive. But hold on, how much of this happened? Probably not as much as this latest psychotic break ends in an unexpected hospital stay. When she returns homes, we find out what happens through flashbacks and conversations with psychiatrist Dr Pangloss and her parents (played by Katherine Heigl and Harry Connick Jr.). They all think that she’s been caught up in a fantasy and that none of it is true.
It sadly goes from bad to worse for Rain as she’s the school freak to everyone except Caleb (Israel Broussard). Caleb and Rain grow close and that’s something Rain can hold onto. But is Caleb as genuine, honest and caring as he seems, or is he just another element of Rain’s imagination?
According to her mum, he is, but you will have to make up your mind by watching “Fear of Rain”. While the movie starts as any horror movie, it soon becomes a psychological thriller. From then on, it focuses more on the disease and throwing the viewer off by making us doubt what happened. While that combination is a great starting point for a captivating movie, “Fear of Rain” becomes a slightly underwhelming.
This movie isn’t the most surprising one but you want to go on this psychological journey with Rain because of the excellent performances. Whether or not Caleb is real, the chemistry between Rain and Caleb is because of the beautiful interplay between Iseman and Broussard. Iseman (“Nocturne”, “Annabelle Comes Home”) gives such a genuine, wonderful, sincere and up-close performance. She makes it easy to feel the emotions Rain is going through. Broussard is no stranger to the horror genre as he already starred in “Happy Death Day 2U” and “Happy Death Day”. He also excels in “Fear of Rain”, as the mysterious, friendly and supporting Caleb.
While it’s not Katherine Heigl (“Life as We Know It”, “Unforgettable”) and Harry Connick Jr. (“Independence Day”, “Basic”), their movie, they still know how to put on an excellent performance. Their acting is subtle but it still has an emotional impact on you and the story. There’s also the dazzling, terror-y and haunting performance by Eugenie Bondurant (“Patsy”) as Dani’s neighbour and Rain’s teacher. She makes us look forward to “The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It”.
“Fear of Rain” shines to the beautiful shots by cinematographer Joshua Reis (“Bruised”, “Beats”). The film set in and around Tampa, and Reis makes sure that you’re there with the family on location. When watching “Fear of Rain”, you will be impressed by the stunning Southern architecture coming to life. If you add a cleverly used score by Jamie Muhoberac (“Amnésique”, “The Tao of Pinochet”), you know that the crew is as strong as the cast.
So why can’t “Fear of Rain” fully convince us? It’s the fact that the movie falls back on predictable elements. You get hints about what’s real and what’s not, but sadly, most of them are just too on the nose or too extreme. While the movie mainly targets a younger audience, the youngsters also have a sceptical mind, clearly something that “Fear of Rain” underestimated.
While “Fear of Rain” is too predictable it still portrays living with schizophrenia in a very realistic way. This is due to the strong performances from the overall cast, the beautiful shots and the simple but effective score.
“Fear of Rain” is now available on digital platforms.
26th April 2021
THE QUICK SELL
A girl living with schizophrenia struggles with terrifying hallucinations as she begins to suspect her neighbor has kidnapped a child. The only person who believes her is Caleb -a boy she isn't even sure exists.