Combustible Celluloid
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With: Katherine Heigl, Madison Iseman, Harry Connick Jr., Israel Broussard, Eugenie Bondurant, Julia Vasi, Enuka Okuma
Written by: Castille Landon
Directed by: Castille Landon
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic content, violence/terror, disturbing images and some strong language
Running Time: 104
Date: 02/12/2021

Fear of Rain (2021)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Visions Quest

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Castille Landon's Fear of Rain stumbles over pieces that don't fit together too well, but the thoughtful, sympathetic treatment of its heroine and her sickness, as well as some solid tension, put this thriller just over the top.

Teen Rain Burroughs (Madison Iseman) is living with schizophrenia and suffers visual and auditory hallucinations. One, a masked figure captures her and buries her alive, occurs because Rain stopped taking her meds. She wakes from it in a hospital bed, with her worried parents (Katherine Heigl and Harry Connick Jr.) nearby.

She agrees to go on new meds and start over, but things immediately take a turn when she begins to suspect that her teacher and next door neighbor, Ms. McConnell (Eugenie Bondurant), is holding a young girl hostage. The only person who believes her is a new kid at school, Caleb (Israel Broussard), and together they decide to investigate. Unfortunately, she has no way of knowing if any of this is real.

Fear of Rain puts plenty of thought into the condition of schizophrenia, showing Rain in therapy sessions, discussing the things she's experiencing, and her reactions to the various medications she must take ("it makes me feel like a zombie"). Kids at school treat her like an outcast, and she's forever explaining that she doesn't have multiple personalities (a common misconception).

If you think about it too hard, using her condition and its visual and auditory hallucinations as fodder for a few thrills and a "twist" toward the end, can seem a little dishonest, as if cheapening Rain's struggle. But since Fear of Rain is mainly shown from Rain's point of view, her condition and the movie's plot devices can somewhat meld together; we see what Rain sees.

Iseman is terrific in her role, and Broussard (who also helped Tree with a supernatural conundrum in the Happy Death Day movies) adds to the movie with his likable nerd Caleb, who does magic tricks with tarot cards, fixes cars, and studies quantum mechanics.

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