Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: A girl living with schizophrenia struggles with terrifying hallucinations as she begins to suspect her neighbour has kidnapped a child. The only person who believes her is Caleb—a boy she isn’t even sure exists.
Review: Using mental illnesses as a plot device in a movie can be tricky. Get it right and you have cinematic gold like One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Get it wrong, well in the words of Kirk Lazarus, “you never go full r—”. Fear of Rain uses schizophrenia as one of its main plot devices and, while it’s not played for laughs, it still falls into the old trope of mental illness equals dangerous individual, something actual sufferers of these types of diseases have struggled to get away from for years. But before we go down that tunnel, let’s take a look at this psychological thriller to see what worked.
Actress Madison Iseman (sitcom Still the King) plays a teenage girl named Rain who is suffering with early on-set schizophrenia. While dealing with her most recent breakdown she also has to contend with the possibility her school teacher neighbour might be a serial killer. Iseman is giving it her all and does come across as someone who’s trying to be respectful of the disease while still acting a part in a thriller. She’s definitely the strength of this movie and her earnest performance makes watching what amounts to a mostly predictable story bearable.
Another bright light here is Eugenie Bondurant who plays Dani McConnell, Rain’s teacher and the woman she thinks is a killer. Bondurant reminded me of a female Doug Jones (Star Trek: Discovery/Hellboy) and it’s not just her physical appearance. She plays the character in a way that’s both inviting and sinister at the same time, which added to the suspense of the film in a much needed way. Sadly every other character here is one note, which is a shame considering the actors playing Rain’s parents are Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up/Grey’s Anatomy) and Harry Connick Jr. (Copycat/Dolphin Tale).
There were also some cool visual cues to show what Rain was thinking in the moment, which was a way of her figuring out if what she was seeing was real or not. Like I said before, Iseman does try to be respectful and doesn’t play the part for laughs, but at the same time the movie itself falls into the same tropes of treating mental illness like something to be feared by the people around her. Her best friends treat her like trash, her own parents think she should be locked up, and there’s really zero sympathy from anyone who knows her.
Maybe if the story was less predictable and the finale didn’t feel so rushed I would’ve enjoyed this more. And I can see some people finding genuine entertainment with trying to figure out if what they’re seeing is all in Rain’s mind or not. But for me, this was on par with a Lifetime movie—just a tad too cheesy for me to take it seriously.
Sommer’s Score: 5.5 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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