Fear of Rain takes the fun trope of having an unreliable narrator and a seemingly interesting plot, yet unfortunately turns it into a bland mystery-drama that once again uses mental illness as an excuse for horror.
Written by Becca Johnson
New horror on the block Fear of Rain tells the story of Rain Burroughs (Madison Iseman), a teenage girl living with schizophrenia. When she suspects her next door neighbour has kidnapped a child, she must try and convince her parents that what she has seen is real, though all they want is for her to lead a normal life.
Iseman's portrayal of Rain is admirable; she is very believable in convincing you that everything she witnesses is real, and the audience is able to feel every emotion that she feels. The side performance from Israel Broussard as Rain's love interest and right hand man was good, as well as Katherine Heigl and Harry Connick Jr. fitting the bill of concerned parents nicely. However, no good performance can make up for bland characters, and every character except our lead was severely underwritten and one dimensional, with no background information.
Having an unreliable narrator is always an interesting theme to explore on the screen, and there's definitely some fun to be had here. Throughout the entire film, the audience doesn't know what to believe or whether what they're seeing is really there or not, which only adds to the mystery. Not only are we unsure about whether her neighbour really has kidnapped a child, but we begin to question every interaction that Rain has. Though this ultimately creates an experience that keeps you on your toes, it also means that many of the twists that unfold have already crossed your mind once or twice before they are revealed.
Fear of Rain also plays it very safe with the horror, meaning the film should definitely be considered as more of a mystery thriller. The horror that it did feature was very reliant on jump scares, which gives a quick fright but fails to get under your skin and cause true fear. There were some nightmare scenes that managed to throw in some cool imagery and scare our main character, but it's questionable whether this fear translates through to the audience.
Without looking too hard into the nitty gritty, Fear of Rain is full of twists and turns that can be enjoyed if not predicted and a noteworthy lead performance from Madeline Iseman. However, once you dig deeper, you're faced with a horror film with a lack of horror, a mystery that fails to be compelling and a script that's both corny and lacks originality. You won’t learn anything new about mental illness nor will it leave you flicking all the lights on in the house, but it will definitely get your brain ticking and force you to question everything you see.