Fear of Rain (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Fear of Rain (2021) Review

Horrorific content by Christina Dee on July 03rd, 2021 | Movie Review | Psychological, Madness, Mystery

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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.

Fear of Rain was directed by Castille Landon and stars Harry Connick Jr. (from Bug), Katherine Heigl (from Bride of Chucky) and Madison Iseman (from Annabelle Comes Home).

Some voices you can't outrun

Fear of Rain Review

Thanks to iconic suspense thrillers like Hitchcock’s Rear Window and its many successors, the “what’s going on next door” trope remains alive and well in the world of horror. Brought to you by writer-director Castille Landon, Fear of Rain blends the “mystery next door” approach with the equally familiar reality-versus-delusion conundrum.

At the center of the storyline is Rain Burroughs (Iseman). In fact, the opening scene features Rain herself running barefoot through an ominous forest while being chased by a mysterious pursuer right before waking up in a hospital. Her parents, Michelle (Heigl) and John (Connick), are by her side to see her through psychiatric therapy. It’s soon revealed that Rain’s been struggling with schizophrenia for some time, but she’s soon released and begins the journey back to everyday life. 

Naturally, Rain’s problems don’t end because she’s back home and on meds to help with her condition. She struggles to overcome the stigma that follows her when she returns to high school, although she does find a willing friend in classmate Caleb (Israel Broussard). Rain also has her reasons to doubt her sanity. She fears Caleb himself might be a figment of her imagination, especially when he’s seemingly the only person who believes her when she becomes convinced her neighbor is holding a kidnapped child hostage.

Fear of Rain goes back and forth between unraveling the mysterious circumstances next door and examining the extent to which Rain can trust her instincts. How much of what she thinks she knows is even real, and can she figure it out before it’s too late to save the child who might be a captive next door?

Stylistically, Fear of Rain does have a certain flair to it. Text from Rain’s journal is frequently used as an overlay to the action playing out on-screen, especially when something particularly difficult for her is in the process of playing out. The overall design of the film’s look and its technical execution lend polish and visual appeal. The Central Florida setting is also leveraged to full effect and looks beautiful on-screen.

Many of the performances here are also top-tier. Madison Iseman shines as the titular Rain. You do care about her and hope she eventually finds her way back to the peaceful, healthy life she deserves. The always noteworthy Harry Connick Jr. and Katherine Heigl also turn in strong performances as Rain’s parents. Finally, Israel Broussard lends a much-appreciated dose of comic relief and friendly approachability to the cast, even if his character indeed does appear too good to be true at times.

What doesn’t work so well here is the film’s heavy-handed approach to mental illness. Although London sets out to point out that Rain is so much more than the illness she struggles with, her approach tries way too hard to drive it home. In fact, Rain even expresses this sentiment aloud at one point, just in case you happened to miss the multiple other ways this film tries to convey this same message. The film also relies much too heavily on Rain’s maybe-hallucinations and symptoms to keep the storyline moving and generate suspense.

Worth Watching?

Fear of Rain makes an admirable attempt to tell a compelling story, and it even succeeds at times. However, it’s a bit uneven regarding the impact some of the plot twists and reveals have when they do come. In other words, you probably won’t walk away from this film blown away by anything specific, as you’ll have seen the vast majority of it done before many times. But Landon and her cast turn in a noble effort that’s entertaining enough to be interesting.

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