02nd Sep2022

Frightfest 2022: ‘Walking Against the Rain’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Sophia Eleni, Reese Douglas, James Swanton, Johnny Vivash | Written and Directed by Scott Lyus

Writer-director Scott Lyus made something of an impact on the film festival circuit with his short film Black Mass and now he’s back with his first feature, Walking Against the Rain, which explores a familiar post-apocalyptic theme but puts a wonderfully different spin on things!

The film follows two strangers, Blair and Tommy are navigating their way across a barren landscape in a desperate attempt to find each other. With their only form of communication being two soon-to-die battery-operated radio microphones and with a new evil in the shape of ‘The Forsaken’ tracking them down, they must not only make their way to a rendezvous point but also merely survive.

By now there’s no one out there who doesn’t have experience in watching post-apocalyptic movies, and probably are familiar with the nihilistic, bleak nature of the genre and the tropes and cliches that proliferate this type of film. However, whilst Lyus does follow a number of those tropes he does one thing that, I think, I haven’t seen in ANY post-apocalyptic movie before…

He has lead characters that are not hardened by their experiences.

Our lead characters still have hope and compassion, especially Sophia Eleni’s Blair, even in the face of impending doom – in this case the creatures that hunt those that are still alive, the feral humans hunting for food AND the doomsday occultists that are as dangerous as the monsters that occupy the British countryside. Lyus focuses on the HUMANITY of this situation, the good in the face of evil (in this case literally and figuratively). It’s a credit to Lyus and this crew that they found such great actors for the two lead roles.

Sophia Eleni is a particular stand-out, giving a brilliantly upbeat and compassionate performance as Blair – who is the opposite of Reese Douglas’ Tommy, a man who’s become downbeat, weary and scared. The two are a great dichotomy that come together in ways each character didn’t know they needed. It’s almost yin and yang in how diametrically opposed their personalities are – but it’s also a symbiotic relationship, they come to form a whole, keeping each other going through their thrice-daily radio chats. It’s a beautiful thing to watch in a genre that is not known for its beauty.

There’s something to be said about watching a film that typically would be all about the battle between humans and monsters (with fights and deaths galore on both sides) and instead watching a film in which two people grow a close bond without ever seeing each other and who keep each other alive and give each other purpose.

Walking Against the Rain feels like the antithesis of what a “post-apocalyptic” movie would be and it’s all the better for it. The film feels like a breath of fresh air in a genre that has been around for years. It’s the kind of movie that makes you realise that yes, there are new ideas to be found even in the most over-saturated of genres. I’m hoping Lyus can bring these kinds of fresh new ideas to more genre fare in the future!

**** 4/5

Walking Against the Rain screened as part of this year’s Arrow Video London Frightfest.


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