Since the days of ancient Greece, it has been said that there are some pitches in the human vocal range that could drive a person to madness, or even sinister ends. The absurdly entertaining British horror-musical, The Devil’s Harmony, brings this old choral superstition to life; when a private school’s Accapella group turns killer in favor of seeking revenge against their horrid school bullies.
The Devil’s Harmony remains an early entry in director Dylan Holmes Williams’ filmography, and yet plays much more at the level of feature-length. It’s clear that the filmmakers had far more narrative substance to play with, which is a shame since we don’t get to enjoy any of it within the parameters of a short film block. What makes this film even more entertaining is that it doesn’t lean into its own humor; instead choosing to remain true to more dramatic coming of age tones similar to Carrie. This immediately amps up the absurdity of each song-induced kill, especially when the group begins to make their round of murderous house-calls. It’s like Glee… but they kill people.
From the first shot of the film, we’re introduced to the chilling images of motionless teens littered across the school grounds; which invokes a feeling of unease like that of Suspiria’s dance academy. This element is also echoed in the camera work and color palette, keeping any bonkers qualities grounded till the final act where things go totally balls to the wall in a musical battle royale.
The Devil’s Harmony bares much heart, as well as that famed dry British humor, which crescendoes together and expertly pulls off the serious messages of anti-bullying in the film’s forefront. The film stars Patsy Ferran (Jamestown, God’s Own Country), Leo Suter (Victoria, Sanditon), and Guy Henry (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 1 & 2).