J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls perfectly – and painfully – captured the anguish and confusion caused when a young person faces the death of a loved one.

In that heartbreaking film, fantasy clashed with reality as a boy sought the help of a monster to serve as a metaphor for his rage and to cope with his mum’s terminal illness.

Writer-turned-director Anders Walter follows in those gigantic footsteps.

The Danish filmmaker attempts that feat too with I Kill Giants, based on Joe Kelly’s graphic novel and produced by Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) but unfortunately the story and its execution fall short.

Madison Wolfe plays tabletop game fanatic Barbara Thorson who escapes her troubled family life and bullying at school by retreating to a magic realm in her mind where she defeats giants to ‘save’ her quiet coastal town.

Presumably due to a limited budget, you only see glimpses of these colossal monsters and yet the story relies too heavily on this gimmicky concept and an underwhelming twist.

The first half of I Kill Giants lacks pace with drawn out scenes in school and an unconvincing friendship between Barbara and her only friend Sophia (Sydney Wade).

Madison Wolfe’s performance is full of heart but her character Barbara’s disconnection from reality is exaggerated to such an extent that it is hard to suspend your disbelief.

Imogen Poots (The Green Room) is convincing as Barbara’s barely coping big sister who could have done with a bigger role and Guardians of the Galaxy’s Zoe Saldana is strong but underused as Barbara’s school counsellor and Imogen Poots.

It is a shame because the final act of the film – where Barbara’s real and full situation is revealed – has real power and emotional impact.

It is always commendable to deal with these kind of subjects in film and the ending almost saves this giant mess but not quite.

RATING: 4/10