Fear of Rain’s greatest success is perspective, of placing a viewer inside Rain’s (Madison Iseman) mind as she endures schizophrenic breaks. It’s the voices, the usual trope, those whispers filling her brain. More so though, the visuals, darting between haziness and clarity, truth and hallucinations, terror and comfort. Fear of Rain convincingly creates an unstable world, all from within a teen girl’s vision.
In one sense, Fear of Rain’s implementation of mental health to fit thriller tropes feels disingenuous. Disorientation, at times, is less about Rain’s condition than tricking an audience. Cries of a grade school-age girl next door cause concern, primarily centered on what Rain understands is real. Self-doubt becomes crushing, but some of the thematic movements come across as exploitative instead of explorative.
Fear of Rain never offers stability
Fear of Rain never offers stability
The issue is Fear of Rain doesn’t even need a mystery child; seeing Rain isolated from judgmental classmates, her friend’s rejection, and the uncertainty as to whether a new kid in class actually exists creates enough drama. That’s authentic, even powerfully emotive day-in-the-life storytelling. From those scenes alone, Fear of Rain finds empathy, and when coupled with the superlative visual disorientation, terrifyingly plausible.
Even at home, Rain’s efforts to seem “normal” go awry. She blames herself as her parents endure the stress of a mentally ill child. The vision is total – sociological, medical, and personal. All of those angles coalesce by the end. Even if certain twists become obvious, that works because to Rain, it’s not. That’s sensible misdirection showing the severity of schizophrenia. What’s clear to others distorts in Rain’s own mind.
Tension runs high. It’s a constant. Even in calmer scenes as Rain enjoys painting, soft sunlight filtering through a window, there’s a possibility this is all artificial. She pushes away a potential boyfriend because he’s, “too perfect.” Fear of Rain never offers stability. Those helping Rain can just as likely turn into enemies. When frustration grows at home, her father turns angry, even violent. The entire situation bottles up emotions waiting to blow, and Rain is stuck in the center. As police enter the frame, it’s worse still.
In exposing the stigmas and how people treat sufferers, Fear of Rain does remarkable work in making the experience digestible, and explaining the crises sans exposition. It all filters naturally into the narrative, developing Rain as it goes. That soft hand helps counteract the unnecessary mystery.
Other than low light noise, Fear of Rain’s digital cinematography glistens thanks to the clarity. No compression, no errant artifacts, just pristine source material. Spectacular resolution brings out the fine detail. Facial texture looks exquisite and consistent, shining equally from within the creative cinematography. Rain’s perspective often blurs, the precise focus points peering through.
Brightly lit environments pump up contrast, keeping the imagery firm. Even at night, there’s still weight to the brightness, helping when against the intentionally duller black levels. Depth is still plentiful.
While the color palette veers between warm and back into cooler tones, it’s still a firmly saturated presentation. Flesh tones hit their mark, while the school colors develop rich, saturated reds (like football uniforms). Other primaries excel too. There’s plenty to take notice of.
Via DTS-HD, the mix holds spectacular moments. In simulating Rain’s mind, voices swirl between each channel, sweeping through the rears to simulate the psychosis. Strong ambiance in the neighborhood or from a hefty storm fill the soundstage. It’s persistently well mixed while being careful to utilize the surrounds only as needed.
Bass kicks up during moments of intense fear, the jolt heavy, bold, and thick. Fear of Rain’s mix shows range where possible, but it’s careful not to overdue anything. Sound is critical to the tone.
For 32-minutes, Collective Fear brings the key cast and director together for a virtual chat. It’s an insightful conversation. Deleted scenes then run a bit over four minutes.
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Fear of Rain
Planting viewers in the mind of schizophrenic episodes, Fear of Rain convincingly shows the alienation of mental health breaks.
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