‘The Block Island Sound’ is a sci-fi horror film that tells the story of increasingly strange occurrences on the eponymous landmass that seem to be somehow originating from a particular spot nearby in the open ocean. As one resident family of the Block Island gets further and further embroiled in the sinister occurrences, the island proves to be a fitting backdrop for the chilling tale. If you’re curious to know whether the movie was filmed in real locations, we’ve got your back.
The Block Island Sound Filming Locations
‘The Block Island Sound’ is a film that is as much an homage to its location as it is inspired by it. The 2020 film is based and filmed on Block Island in Rhode Island. It is mostly shot on location in a house on the western bank of the island connected to a small jetty which is also featured in the film. Some scenes feature other parts of the island as well as the surrounding sea. Let’s take a closer look at the specific filming details!
Block Island, Rhode Island
‘The Block Island Sound’ is extensively filmed on the eponymous island. Located approximately 9 miles south of the coast of mainland Rhode Island, Block Island is part of the Block Island Sound, a strip of open Atlantic Ocean separating Block Island from the mainland, and is accessible via a ferry. It is no coincidence that co-directors Matthew and Kevin McManus were drawn to the location ever since they first saw it.
Many years ago, while in college and filming a zombie movie, Matthew and Kevin had looked for a location that was creepy, foreboding, but not too expensive for their small budget project. When they saw Block Island, they decided that it deserved a bigger, more ambitious project based there. Many years down the line, the result is ‘The Block Island Sound,’ which uses the island’s sheer cliffs and wild crashing waves to build a menacing atmosphere for the sci-fi horror film.
It is a relatively low budget film and makes good use of its location to add dramatic effect, which would otherwise have cost a lot more if it would have had to be added digitally. The movie opens with a scene showing a lone boat in an open stretch of water, on which one of the main characters is waking up from a mysterious stupor. The wide-open landscape shots of the movie work towards adding a feeling of solitude and being cut off. It is much like the residents of the island who are pretty much on their own when it comes to facing the ominous presence that is plaguing the island.
Due to Block Island being located on a sound, a stretch of open sea between two landmasses, such shots were possible without having to go far out into the open sea. The same location is also where the climax of the movie takes place, as well as the closing scene, which finds one of the characters stranded out at sea, this time without a boat. The other major location used in the movie is the house and the attached private pier. Though the exact location of the house is unknown, scenes from the movie suggest that it is on the western side of the island.
As the name suggests, the real-life Block Island plays an essential role in giving the setting of the film its character. Many of the details mentioned in the film, some in passing and some important to the plot, are facts about the island that the filmmakers have skillfully folded into the fictional world that they have created. One such example is the fact that the island is a summer hotspot for vacationers. Interestingly, its population of around a thousand swells to fifteen thousand during summer months, only to go back to its competitively minuscule population in a few months when the tourist season is over.
The afore-mentioned point is specifically mentioned in the movie in the context of the protagonist’s brother, who lives on the island. The film showcases a fear that he will slip into alcoholism and mental disarray due to huge fluctuations in the number of people around him and the solitude brought about by the island’s paltry residential population. The wind farm mentioned in the movie also exists and is known as the Block Island Wind Farm, which is America’s first commercial offshore wind farm and is located 3.8 miles off the coast of Block Island.
Read More: The Block Island Sound Ending, Explained