Fear Of Rain (2021)

Director: Castille Landon

Running Time: 108 Minutes

Certification: 15

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Madison Iseman, Harry Connick Jr., Israel Broussard, Eugenie Bondurant, Julia Vasi, Enuka Okuma

Opening on a scene of terror, Rain Burroughs (Madison Iseman) is shown in a dark forest, running away from a hooded figure. Once they catch up to her, Rain is buried alive in a shallow grave, before a cut reveals this is happening in her head. She's really in a hospital, where a team of doctors and nurses are looking after her, as parents John (Harry Connick Jr.) and Michelle (Katherine Heigl) look worried.

Suffering from vivid hallucinations as a result of schizophrenia, Rain is left on edge, unsure if what's she sees is real. To help centre herself, she runs through a series of questions to work out how real what she's experiencing is, which are visualised onscreen. When she returns to school and meets Caleb (Israel Broussard), this charming classmate seems too good to be true. While first love may seem frightening, it pals in comparison to her real-life neighbour, who Rain is convinced has kidnapped a little girl.

It's worth praising the cast, who put committed portrayals into their roles, conveying the struggles of this situation without tipping into caricatures. It's easy to believe Rain disliking the medication she's on, despite having to keep taking it, otherwise she will be put in an institution. There are interesting visualisations of these feelings, as she worries the medication is making her feel constrained. One wishes the film didn't spell this out to the audience, a trait which becomes frustrating as it keeps recurring.

There's interesting direction at times, with Castille Landon capturing a dreamlike quality in a striking ways, yet it can be undercut when the camera operator seems unable to stand still. With a story like this, it feels inevitable the film would play on Rain's schizophrenia, and it becomes a drawn out wait for the eventual reveal, with no real surprises. As the finale grows closer, it's a shame the story does not reach what feels like a natural conclusion. Instead, it comes off as a rushed dash to the finish, tying up threads in a messy manner. This could have been an interesting use of a real-life condition for a thrilling tale, where even the protagonist is unsure of what they're seeing. It unfortunately doesn't reach that, and would not feel out of place airing on Channel 5 in the daytime.

Fear of Rain is released on Digital Platforms 26th April