The Block Island Sound (2020)

Buttonface Says!: The Block Island Sound


Shortly after ex-con, Harry, moved back in with his father, his father passes, leaving Harry and the town to wonder if Harry has returned to his old ways, or if there is something supernatural in the water. As the family investigates the mysterious happenings, they are pulled into a vortex of supernatural forces in this riveting exploration of the unexplained and the lengths which people will go to protect their loved ones.

Buttonface Says…

I have to be honest. The opening scene of this movie left a bad taste in my mouth. Why? Because I’m not sure if I can handle any more conspiracies. To be fair, I’m watching this movie in 2023 and it came out in 2020. Ah yes, 2020, the height of the conspiracy era. The conspiracy scene was growing, podcasts were everywhere; little did we know what was brewing underneath. Okay, maybe we did know, but I sure as fuck didn’t.

What was brewing was people actually believing. Not wondering, not “wanting to believe”, not enjoying the mystery, but actually fucking believing! Okay, that’s a discussion for another day. Let’s try to put ourselves in the mindset of enjoying a film instead of the usual existential dread.

Turns out its a pretty good movie, to be fair they get over the B.S. quickly. It’s actually quite an interesting take on weaving a conspiracy or two through a horror film. It ended up being more of an mysterious atmospheric horror flick with some conspiracy woven in. And it’s woven in in a natural way, afterall, it was 2020, the height of the conspiracy era… 

The story is a pretty engrossing dive into an estranged family trying to do the least amount possible to connect, which I think we can all identify with. And while identifiable, it can be slow as the tension builds. But don’t expect a jumpscare monster, expect a dark, thematic film more reminiscent of pulp poetry than blockbuster bug beast.

The movie accomplishes one of the most impressive goals of the independent horror film maker. Directors, Kevin McManus and Matthew McManus, perfectly take a small cast, use a small set or location, and turn it into something compelling.

If you’re looking for edge of your seat horror action, this ain’t it. If you’re looking for a dark, moody horror film that oozes with modern day Lovecraft and mostly on a boat… this is your jam.

More cogitations on 2020’s The Block Island Sound:

  • The instrumental soundtrack was reminiscent of Manhunter, which is a-okay in my book. So I checked out the soundtrack on Spotify, and I’m not seeing the connection? Maybe it was just little bits from the breakdowns? This will take more investigation.
  • I’m split on the creepy sound design. On one side it’s well done and intense… on the other side there’s absolutely nothing subtle about it.
  • One complaint is that they portrayed our protagonist as a hothead but I wasn’t really feeling that.
  • Someone named Edward Guimont argued that while there are similarities to the work of H. P. Lovecraft, a closer parallel is Charles Fort’s 1919 The Book of the Damned. Which I haven’t checked out… but will now.
Buttonface On a Boat

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