Harmony begins with a barrage of flashbacks. Ranson (Jessica Inzeo, Kara, One Penny) and her security director (Andrew S. Harper) are discussing how Sophia (Marili Kateri, Zombie Doomsday, Senior Cut Day: The Movie) managed to get back to the facility. As they do she is remembering the events on the battlefield and the hospital that led to her being there the first time.
From these opening scenes, we can tell Sophia is some kind of soldier. She is wearing a uniform, but her opponents are dressed in civilian clothes. Are they some kind of militia? A covert infiltration unit? Or maybe the budget didn’t stretch that far, as it’s instantly obvious that Harmony is a microbudget film.
Post credits we see Sophia waking up in a hospital ward with no idea where she is or how long she’s been there. Ransom tells her part of her arm was amputated and replaced with a prosthetic. She won’t answer any other questions, immediately pushing the viewer into Harmony’s mystery.
And despite IMDB classing it as action, horror, and science fiction, Harmony is a mystery with elements of those three genres worked into the plot. And given the nature of the plot, which we eventually begin to find out involves a second civil war, covert government experiments, and surveillance, this format was probably the best choice to keep the costs down.
Most of the film takes place in the sterile medical facility itself as Sophia talks with some of the other residents. Occasional flashbacks set elsewhere break this up as what she hears triggers seemingly repressed memories. And the more she remembers the more she realizes this isn’t a normal hospital and tries to find out what is really going on.
Sophia’s interactions with Ranson as well as fellow patients Erik (Mark Frazier) and Charles (Pry’ce Jaymes, Look Into Darkness, Amanda) held my interest enough that the film’s overall lack of action didn’t bother me. We do get some in the film’s final act. Not quite enough to make Sophia into the Ripley-like character he wanted but enough to give the film a nice charge of adrenaline on the way to Harmony’s somewhat enigmatic ending.
On the other side of the coin, Harmony does have some issues, which is to be expected. Microbudget filmmaking is never easy, especially science fiction and action due to genre expectations. Despite its “very near future” setting the lack of just about anything futuristic will bother some people as will the lack of bigger budgeted film’s intricate fight scenes.
Harmony’s plot does get a bit confusing and seems to lose its way at times leaving me wondering just what was going on. That’s at least partially due to the script’s blurring the lines between reality and what is being presented to Sophia as reality and giving us few clues to tell which is which. And, as with all films that carry a message, how you feel about that message will probably affect how you view the film.
Director Zachary Gross expanded an idea from an earlier short along with co-writers Micah (Artificial Uncovered) and Nathan McFarland. The feature’s trip to release has been a long one that started with script revisions after a troubled fundraising campaign and shooting in two bursts in 2017 and 2018 followed by postproduction and a search for a distributor.
Obviously, he believed in the film and its message and that shows in the final film. Give his vision a chance and you’ll see why. Gravitas Ventures will release Harmony to VOD and Digital platforms on June 24th. You can check the film’s website and Facebook page for more information. And if you’re looking for more films like this, FilmTagger has a few suggestions.
Sophia’s interactions with Ranson as well as fellow patients Eric (Mark Frazier) and Charles (