What's your rating of Rain

Criticism from the FILMSTARTS editorial team

The next window to the courtyard

From Lutz Granert
The director Castille Landon is not even 30 years old and is still damn good in business: After the young filmmaker made her effective debut in 2016 with the teenage fantasy film "Albion - The Enchanted Stallion", the hearty drama followed just one year later "Apple Of My Eye - Guardian Angels Don't Need Wings" about the relationship between a blind teenage girl and a miniature horse. Landon is currently working on two sequels to the young adult blockbusters “After Passion” and “After Truth” based on the series of novels by Anna Todd with “After Love” and “After Forever”.

In this filmography fits "Fear of Rain", For which Landon wrote the script five years ago under the original title" I Saw A Man With Yellow Eyes ", at least not really at first glance. But it was just important for the filmmaker to write against the stigmatization of mentally ill people with the help of a Hollywood-style thriller plot. Despite the strong performance of Madison Isemann (“Jumanji 2: The Next Level”) as a schizophrenic teenager, this tightrope walk between teen psychodrama and horror thriller does not always work out due to a lack of narrative sophistication.

In her new classmate, Caleb, Rain seems to have finally found a real friend.

Rain (Madison Iseman) finds his way back to everyday life only slowly after a particularly strong delusional attack. The schizophrenic teenager is avoided at school, only her new classmate Caleb (Israel Broussard) stands by her. One evening, when she watches a little girl being held captive in the attic of her neighbor Dani McConnell (Eugenie Bondurant), she wants to get to the bottom of the matter. But did Rain really witness a crime? Or did the disease just play another trick on her?

Castille Landon spends an amazing amount of time not only showing the madness of her leading actress, but actually making the viewer feel it. In addition to conventional ingredients such as the murmur of voices on the sound track, jump scares with bloody shower curtains or a black-clad killer in the cemetery, the original visual ideas stand out pleasantly from comparable genre productions: cameraman Joshua Reis boldly experiments with dynamic steadicam trips, views from below and wide-angle shots in the seemingly huge interiors, which are distorted The edges of the picture also cause anxiety and latent disorientation in the audience. Even point-of-view shots, in which we look out of focus through the tear-soaked eyes of the freshly sedated Rain, allow the protagonist's struggle with her perception to be felt again and again through their radically subjective perspective.

Madison Iseman, who was able to gain experience in the horror genre in "Annabelle 3", succeeds in an impressive, because emotionally wide-ranging performance. Between hyperventilating panic attacks, tearful conversations with her parents and the timid search for affection, she gives her figure an impressive level of authentic fragility. Opposite her, Israel Broussard (“Happy Deathday”) hardly succeeds in setting acting accents as a lovable, reserved technology nerd with a preference for card tricks. Katherine Heigl ("Grey's Anatomy"), on the other hand, simply lacks the screen time to gain profile beyond the usual caring mother clichés.

The focus on the inner workings of the protagonist, who repeatedly asks ten questions in order to assure herself of her own perception, makes the already somewhat thinly knitted thriller plot increasingly fade into the background. The story, which is vaguely reminiscent of the Hitchcock classic “Das Fenster zum Hof”, is making slow progress, and the tension curve only increases sporadically until the finale in the teacher's attic, which is full of strange utensils, only to be choked off repeatedly by the same conflicts . Due to her refusal to take pills or new threats from her dubious teacher Dani, who wants to stop the snooping, Rain is on the verge of admission to psychiatry - which increases the pressure on Rain, but not the pace of the film.

Michelle (Katherine Heigl) goes out of her way to be a good mother to her daughter.

Even a (predictable) twist in the style of “The Sixth Sense” does not surprise much, especially with the psychological constitution of the main character. With “Fear Of Rain” Castille Landon proves once again that she has a great talent for penetrating into the inner life of young protagonists with a high degree of empathy. In addition, she creates an ominous (horror) atmosphere with original stylistic devices. However, your script lacks dramaturgical flair, so that psycho-drama and psycho-thriller rarely really come together here.

Conclusion: “Fear Of Rain” works pretty well as a psychological drama with horror elements due to the approachable performance of Madison Iseman - which only partially compensates for the rather transparent thriller plot.

»" Fear Of Rain "on Amazon *

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