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Saturday, March 13, 2021

Review: The Block Island Sound

Director: Kevin McManus and Matthew McManus

Screenplay: Kevin McManus and Matthew McManus

Year: 2021

Thanks to the recent surge of Lovecraftian horror movies, especially in the aquatic area, I was expecting “The Block Island Sound” to follow this same line. Movies like the great “Sea Fever”, “Underwater” and “The Beach House” are the main culprits for me to automatically expect mythical creatures and tentacles as soon as I see a horror movie with an enigmatic theme and involving a body of water, but “The Block Island Sound” takes another route. Although it holds many parallels with the movies mentioned, instead of the Lovecraftian style, it opts for a mix of suspense and science fiction.

Something strange is happening on the coasts of Block Island that has caused the loss of local fauna with thousands of dead fish and dragged to the sand. Not only the fauna but also a local fisherman is affected and starts showing unusual behavior. A tragedy reunites the fisherman’s family, who try to uncover what is driving the changes in the area.

“The Block Island Sound” plays with the notion of making humans and planet Earth insignificant under the influence of extraterrestrial forces. Many scientists invade the microcosm of ecosystems and species and alter them with the goal of understanding them better, but what if a higher creature was to invade our microcosm?

In general, “The Block Island Sound” checks all the boxes for being an excellent horror movie. Starting with the intriguing and enigmatic plot, the good cinematography and acting, and ending with the outstanding sound design and score, but it never manages to reach that level. The problem with this movie is that it lacks soul.

Although it makes almost everything right, this movie from Kevin and Matthew McManus (“Funeral Kings”) fails both in its rhythm as in its horror. During most of its development, it feels slow, and it never manages to grab the viewer fully but does enough to keep it mildly interested until the third act, where the plot picks up and moves towards an interesting conclusion. Concerning horror, it does wet its feet in a few scenes, even playing with some jump scares, but never moving out of the sci-fi thriller field.

“The Block Island Sound” does many things well for being a great movie, but its lack of rhythm and not making the most out of the many chances it has to develop the horror aspect do not allow it to reach that standard. In the audiovisual department, the work is excellent, and the philosophical and thought-provoking concept is intriguing, but its slow development hinders it until the third act, where it manages to break free of this issue.

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