The Block Island Sound is a horror-sci-fi-thriller movie written and directed by Kevin and Matthew McManus and stars Chris Sheffield, Michaela McManus, Neville Archambault and Ryan O’Flanagan, alongside other cast members.
The vast expanse of the ocean terrifies me. Let’s face it – miles and miles of water (seemingly) without an end that might contain god knows what is absolutely a terrible thought and to be stuck in a situation like that with no respite is something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemies. I had watched The Beach House last year that also featured the ocean, although not the same as The Block Island Sound, a Lovecraftian horror story that frankly made the hair on my body stand up. Although these two are very different movies, the idea remains the same – the ocean is terrifying and you wouldn’t find me messing with it.
My paranoia about the sea is well-established in The Block Island Sound’s opening scene where a man, alone in his boat in the middle of the ocean, wakes up to find an odd sound coming from the water and an empty dog collar submerged in it. We are quickly introduced to our main players in this difficult-to-describe movie – the old man was Tom, a fisherman who’s experiencing hallucinations and other problems, his adult children Harry and Audry and the latter’s daughter Emily. The relationship between these characters is a bit tense, but Aundry is here on a mission to investigate the tons of dead fish which have washed up on the island.
Now, keep these tiny nuances in mind for what you’re about to experience afterwards. Although at first, you’ll feel like it’s another aquatic horror movie featuring entities that kill fishes, however, there’s more to that story that complicates the narrative and makes this one a difficult film to unwrap. Because, of course, fish dying is always an indication of something sinister at play, whether supernatural or not, but the film explores more than that. It explores the unsteadiness of human minds and what we can believe given the right push.
The Block Island Sound blends the different genres and gives us a movie that’s almost hallucinatory, (probably) like how Tom used to feel. It’s a movie maybe about something supernaturally sinister or it’s about something in someone’s mind… or maybe it’s both. Director duo Kevin and Matthew McManus were more interested in unfolding Harry’s mental state as a result of his ties with his family and his isolation than trying to prove to the audience exactly which box to put this movie into. That, honestly, works wonderfully for the movie that’s atmospheric and creepy.
The focus point of The Block Island Sound is, however, none of these things. It’s the relationship between the two siblings who are so far apart from one another. From the get-go, you’ll realise that Audry left the island to pursue her career, while Harry stayed behind in their hometown to take care of their father. The siblings love each other, which is apparent in some places, but there’s a lot of resentment. Audry feels like Harry is wasting his life on the island while the latter thinks that his sister has essentially abandoned them. Neither is right or wrong, it’s just a difference of perspectives.
The reveals that the movie comes forth with work wonders for how captivating the runtime is. It’s not a lengthy movie by any means, but even with its decent runtime, the movie is able to capture a wide array of threats – both of this world and others. When the final reveal rolls around and the audience gets a taste of what actually was going on, it’s a tough and entertaining cookie to swallow, one that is delicious as well. The Block Island Sound additionally works due to the performances from its leads especially Chris Sheffield’s Harry and the relationship between the siblings which is both relatable and extremely believable.
Summing up: The Block Island Sound
The Block Island Sound is a movie that features no dull moments. It’s eerie, creepy and features some good twists. The tension between human beings in the film is also pretty great and, thus, makes for a satisfying watch.
The Block Island Sound is streaming on Netflix.
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