The MacManus Brothers’ The Block Island Sound

Aliens are up there and they’re messing with us… or are they down below, in the waters of the ocean? The MacManus Brothers’ The Block Island Sound is a fascinating, atmospheric and frequently terrifying glimpse of life in a small fishing town on the Rhode Island coast as inhabitants grapple with a mysterious, threatening, possibly extraterrestrial or cryptozoological force that slowly encroaches on them in increasingly horrifying ways. One fisherman (Chris Sheffield) has already seen his father (Neville Archambault) fall victim to these things and now finds himself coming down with strange symptoms: sleepwalking, blackouts, bizarre hallucinations, dark thoughts and the most severe case of tinnitus I’ve ever seen. He struggles to protect his family from whatever is out there and what it’s doing to him as he can no longer trust his own actions or impulses, especially around his young niece (Matilda Lawler, excellent) whose safety he fears for. This is a slow burn, ambiguous SciFi horror story that takes its time; you never see what’s out there beyond esoteric hints and chilling sounds behind the perpetually overcast coastal skies and the flint grey waters of the sea below. It’s always the threat of what’s out there that is scarier than the thing itself seen in full, and the filmmakers know this, taking full advantage of the ‘less is more’ mantra. Acting is all superior quality, there are a few sequences that drag and could have been tightened up a bit but overall this is a slick, nasty, spine chilling otherworldly horror that hits the spot. It even achieves a moment of pure greatness right at the very end when a character provides thought provoking narration that will make you completely rethink the nature of alien abductions themselves. Good stuff.

-Nate Hill