Dealing with mental illness in film is not a new concept, but it is one that should be dealt with a degree of sensitivity and understanding. It’s not new ground either for mental illness to be the focal of point of the horror genre. Fear of Rain understands this in only the simplest of terms, and despite trying to take itself very seriously indeed – it also wants to use mental illness as a way to entertain its audience. And, put simply, it can’t have it both ways.
Fear of Rain starts off well, with a chase through a forest and a subsequent scene in the hospital where our main character Rain (Madison Iseman) has been admitted. Her parents watch on as various doctors treat her, but it is revealed that Rain suffers from schizophrenia and that she has stopped taking her medication – because it interferes with her ability to paint. Meanwhile, back home with her parents (Katherine Heigl & Harry Connick Jr.), Rain suspects that her neighbour – who is also her school teacher – has kidnapped a young girl and is holding her captive in her home. Fearing that these are more delusional manifestations, Rain’s parents become distressed that their daughter will end up institutionalised, but Rain is determined to find out the truth.
Director Castille Landon’s inability to balance out the various plot points for a film she also wrote is frustrating to say the least. It seems that the writer and director could not decide on what kind of film to make. On one hand, Fear of Rain is a daytime soap opera dealing with two parents and their annoyingly uncontrollable child. On the other it is a pulpy take on the mentally ill, and the films final act cements this idea wholly. At 104 minutes long, there is too much time wasted on throwaway scenes and needless exposition. Rain’s coping mechanism’s for what is real and what is in her head come and go, and these are tempered by her preposterously named therapist, Dr. Ellen Pangloss. It’s also trite and incredibly boring. The cast are capable, but share no chemistry whatsoever and are all undermined by their own inability to balance out their dramatic scenes with the absurdity of the plot. Perhaps it’s hard to blame the cast, as they can only work with what they have. And sadly, Fear of Rain is a dull & problematic take on mental illness and how it can be successfully explored within the horror genre.
Fear of Rain is available now on Amazon Prime Video.