Rain has early-onset schizophrenia, a condition that not only causes her to see vivid hallucinations but also puts a strain on her parents. When she meets Caleb, a charmingly awkward new student at school, she finally feels she has a lifeline to normalcy. But as Rain starts to suspect that her neighbor kidnapped a child, she must soon figure out who and what is real while also battling the overwhelming forces that haunt her daily life.
The premise for Castille Landon’s Fear of Rain enticed me quite a bit before going in. It’s not often that you see a straight-up horror-thriller centered all around schizophrenia. But I think there’s a reason for that – it’s extremely difficult to do.
Last year’s coming-of-age rom-com Words on Bathroom Walls was a great story about one teenager’s struggles with schizophrenia and aside from being funny and sweet, it was genuinely inspiring and it’s the type of movie that would make kids all around the world that have the disorder feel like they are seen and are cared for.
But a horror film about schizophrenia is not something that is easy to craft, and while Landon does a decent job at balancing the horror as well as the serious implications of the disorder, the film is ultimately boring for a long while and has writing skills that aren’t sharp enough to get viewers deeply invested.
We don’t really learn a whole lot about our lead heroine Rain and what her backstory is. We know that she has schizophrenia and her father John (Harry Connick Jr.) wants to do whatever he can for her, and that’s about it. Instead, the movie tends to focus on Rain’s certainty that her neighbor Dani (Eugenie Bondurant) has kidnapped an innocent child and is keeping her hostage in her basement.
It’s frustrating because, by the end of the film, I really didn’t feel like I knew the characters all that well, but the sequences involving the mystery behind this kidnapping weren’t too bad. The film does introduce some well-done twists and turns in its ending even if a lot of the story beforehand is a little bit predictable.
But if there is something here that needs praising, it is certainly the performances. Madison Iseman feels perfect for the role of Rain. She sells every heart-wrenching and emotional scene in the movie. It’s the type of performance that’s so strong and so committed that you’ll wonder how Iseman isn’t more famous than she is.
And it’s always a treat to see Israel Broussard in some new movies. I first took note of him after his performance as Carter Davis in the Happy Death Day movies, and ever since then, I have become quite a fan of his. Here, his role is somewhat limited and his character isn’t all that great in terms of development, but it’s obvious that Broussard is a good actor and did his best with the script that he was given.
It’s not an awful moviegoing experience by any means, but I just felt as though Fear of Rain was lacking in too many departments for me to like it overall. There are certainly some great aspects to it sprinkled throughout, but a lot of it felt like a giant missed opportunity.
Overall Grade: C
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic content, violence/terror, disturbing images, and some strong language
Directed by: Castille Landon
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Release Date: February 12, 2021
Running Time: 104 minutes