Life changes and loss of innocence are difficult when you’re growing up, especially when your world relies on a small, close-knit group. In David Raboy’s The Giant, tragedy makes life a surreal dream for one girl as her world changes.
Charlotte (Odessa Young) is graduating from high school. She lives in a small town with her father, Rex (P.J. Marshall), a part of the town’s law enforcement. Her friends are all close, and they’re anxious about this being the last summer before college. One night at the lake, they hear a scream, and what they think is an animal turns out to be a murder of a girl they all know. Charlotte’s missing boyfriend Joe (Ben Schnetzer) mysteriously shows up and tries to reconnect with her after a year of absence. When more young women are murdered, the town is put under a curfew, and Charlotte begins to wonder if Joe is behind them. This worry, combined with the grief of losing her mother, starts a lucid nightmare of uncertainty and memory that haunts Charlotte’s every waking moment.
Raboy wrote, directed, and edited The Giant. It’s a lucid dreaming film noir with a psychological horror bent. The script is almost poetic, mostly when certain characters speak, and Eric Yue beautifully shoots each scene with dark, moody settings and neon lights illuminating glowing faces. Some incredibly eerie scenes will sear themselves into your brain, but you have to pay attention, or else you’ll miss them.
The Giant moves slowly, focusing on mood and atmosphere more than action or plot. We don’t get much information on the town and Charlotte’s relationship with her father, only that she suffers from the grief of abandonment by her mother and boyfriend. You’re led to wonder about her mental state and left hanging at the end. The cast was quite good, but you see the world primarily through Charlotte’s eyes, who seems to be the only one with a sense of creeping doom. Young is wonderful as a girl lost in a dream state, trying to figure out her past and future, a girl who worries about other young women in danger.
The Giant exudes the essence of a surreal noir, visually arresting and more of a study or abstract of the dread that comes from a slasher film. It may not be for everyone, but the imagery will stay with you long after. See it on digital and on-demand November 13th.