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The Ending Of The Block Island Sound Explained

Ever get the feeling that something is watching you? Not just a nosy neighbor, but something much larger and more profound? That unnerving sensation resides at the heart of the slow-burn horror movie The Block Island Sound.

As the title suggests, the movie takes place on Block Island, which sits off the coast of Rhode Island. Local man Harry (Chris Sheffield) has been having a difficult time dealing with his father, Tom (Neville Archambault). Tom is a gruff fisherman who was always a little inappropriate at the best of times, but lately, his behavior has been erratic. Especially concerning is his new habit of taking his fishing boat out to sea in the middle of the night.

At the same time, mass die-offs of local birds and fish have been happening across the island. Harry's sister Audry (Michaela McManus) is an environmental scientist. She soon arrives on the island from the mainland with her daughter Emily (Matilda Lawler) and colleague Paul (Ryan O'Flanagan) to investigate the occurrences.

Unfortunately, her trip home quickly turns to tragedy when Tom's dead body washes up on shore after he goes missing one night. Harry has already been suspicious about his father's odd behavior, but he's now convinced that something sinister is going on.

The Block Island Sound was added to Netflix in March, and the movie is already proving to be a hit with viewers. If you're one of the many who has been tuning in and are wondering about the meaning behind the movie's enigmatic and terrifying conclusion, we're here to help. 

Here's what you need to know about the ending of The Block Island Sound.

Something disturbing is happening on Block Island

Ever since his father's death, Harry has been in a bad place. He's acting erratically and blacking out regularly, often resulting in potentially dangerous car crashes or, like his father before him, nighttime boat trips. More disturbing are his visions of his father, who appears to him regularly, always groaning incoherently. Everyone around him thinks that he's drinking too much in the wake of his father's death. But he knows it's not that simple.

His paranoia isn't helped by the mass wildlife die-offs that continue to happen on the island. Harry's pal Dale (Jim Cummings), a known conspiracy theory junkie, has been tracking these events. There have been similar incidents reported in other places all over the world, and when Harry charts them on a map, he realizes that the die-offs appear to be following a planned trajectory. While everyone thinks that it's Harry who is going crazy, he's becoming more and more sure that there are outside forces at play.

At the urging of Audry, he sees a doctor, who suggests that he might have electromagnetic hypersensitivity, meaning the technology around him is causing his symptoms. She encourages him to get in touch with another patient of hers who lives with the same condition.

Before he can get in contact with the man, Harry has a serious episode. He steals the neighbor's dog and takes it out on his boat with him. When he's far enough out in the ocean, he stops the boat, and then an unseen force lifts everything into the air, before dropping it back down again. When Harry returns to the shore the next morning, he's dazed and befuddled. Although Audry remains sympathetic, she's also fed up and wants answers.

Audry tries to get to the bottom of everything

Audry tracks down the man Harry's doctor referred him to. When Audry tries to ask him about his condition, he rebuts her claim that he has electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Instead, he asks her about her brother's episodes, specifically if he's been taking food and animals when he leaves during his blackouts.

The man then begins to tell Audry what he actually believes has been happening. It's not some affliction or vague force that has been causing Harry's episodes. It's a particular entity, or, rather, entities, that are driving Harry to bring them things they want to study. He tells her, "They start small. Monitoring what we eat, what we interact with." He warns her, though, that soon they will want something more substantial.

Back on Block Island, Paul is getting ready to have a movie night with Emily. As he tries to get the DVD to work, Harry begins to have one of his episodes. His father appears to him and begins his moaning, but this time his words are clear. As Harry looks at Emily, he hears his father saying, "Girl...girl..." The entities have chosen what they want him to bring them next.

Harry kidnaps Emily and brings her onto his boat. Audry arrives just in time to make it on board before he takes them all out into the ocean. Just like before, everything is lifted into the air. Emily manages to hide in the boat's cabin, but Audry is pulled away into the sky.

What is responsible for all the strange occurrences?

The film ends with a serene underwater shot of the ocean and a voiceover from Audry. It mirrors a conversation about her work as an environmental scientist she had with Emily earlier in the movie. Emily had asked Audry why she takes fish out of the ocean, and in the voiceover, we hear Audry explain: "We're studying them so we can get to know them better, so we can help them better."

She continues, "I know it sounds mean and scary, but by taking some brave fish out of the water and learning about them, we can eventually help all the other fish."

Although the film never provides a definitive answer as to what is behind the strange occurrences, Audry's monologue is an important clue. It implies that the entities — be they extraterrestrial or some other supernatural force — have been using subjects like Harry to bring them things to study. We can also assume that these entities were taking and studying the masses of birds and fish that later turned up dead. To put a popular term to it, what's being described is akin to alien abduction

Audry's words also seem to suggest that these entities are not necessarily malicious. Even though their abductions are harrowing, they could actually be an attempt to help humanity. However, as the subjects being studied, we don't exactly see it that way. 

In Audry's monologue, she also notes that sometimes the fish she catches to study get put back in the ocean. True to her word, in the final shot of the movie, we see Audry fall from the sky and into the water. For whatever reason, she is one of the ones the entities decided to put back.