That’s Just Putting Lipstick on a Pig

Tone-Deaf Review

Tone-Deaf poster

While I tend to try and learn at least a little bit about a film before going into it, sometimes it is more fun going in completely blind. There are so many films being released, seemingly daily, that it is extremely difficult to be in-the-know about every single one, even if I tried. The newest film that has crossed my path unexpectedly is Richard Bates Jr.’s Tone-Deaf.

The Plot

After losing her boyfriend and her job, Olive takes the advice of her friends and family and disappears for the weekend. Ironically, her getaway for a little r and r quickly turns to terror as she is terrorized by the lonely widower who has rented her the weekend estate.

My Thoughts

The only thing that I knew about Tone-Deaf before hitting play was the performers involved. With a small and intimate cast, this film mostly focuses on two main characters — Olive and Harvey — played by Amanda Crew (HBO’s “Silicon Valley”) and Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Faculty), respectively.

With the help of a few supporting cast members, Crew and Patrick did a remarkable job keeping the story going without too many lulls along the way. Their conflicting and completely opposite-in-every-way personalities make for some pretty entertaining scenes, simultaneously comedic and shockingly eye-opening.

Robert Patrick’s Harvey is clearly a deeply disturbed man. He also happens to be an old-timey conservative who thinks the youth of this country is a waste of space. Amanda Crew’s Olive is the personification of these hateful opinions, playing the millenial character a little too well, the perfect antithesis to Harvey.

Tone-Deaf is billed as a horror comedy and it lives up to this label in many ways. While there certainly are multiple laugh-out-loud moments, we are also met with startling violence, progressing into more and more brutality as the film’s 88 minutes rolls on.

A lot of the bloodshed early on in the film is off-camera, just out of frame, or shielded from the audience’s view in one manner or another. As Harvey’s body count continues to increase, however, so does the explicitness of his executions.

Everything from a common handyman’s hammer to an ironically out-of-place tomahawk are used in brutal fashion to get Harvey’s point across, however delusional it may be.

All kills are created using [mostly] practical effects and all look impressive along the way, sure to please even the most bloodthirsty horror fan.

A lot of films have an underlying message to be interpreted by their audience. Tone-Deaf is not trying to hide this message in any way. We live in a world where each generation thinks that their values and their beliefs are “right and just” and that no one else can tell them what to do, who to love, how to live, etc.

This is a very real issue and writer-director Richard Bates Jr. does a remarkable job taking these issues and wrapping them up in a bloody good horror film.

Tone-Deaf at Home

Richard Bates Jr.’s Tone-Deaf will be available on Blu-ray + Digital and DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, October 22, from Saban Films and Lionsgate.

The home release Blu-ray is presented in a 1080p high definition 16×9 (2.39:1) presentation with an English 5.1 DTS-HD master audio track and English-SDH and Spanish subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.

There isn’t much in terms of special bonus content available, but the making-of featurette entitled “The Struggle is Real” more than makes up for that with some great interviews from the film’s cast and crew.

The Verdict

Tone-Deaf is a fun flick with a lot of violence, pitting a quintessential baby-boomer and the walking definition of a millennial against one another in a head-to-head showdown.

It offers a commentary on America’s current social and cultural status without being overly political or in-your-face about any of it, making sure not to offend anyone on either side of the spectrum.

It is funny, but will also have your jaw dropping with its sheer brutality.

The acting is fantastic throughout and the practical effects are second-to-none in indie horror.

Be sure to pick up a copy of Tone-Deaf for yourself and see why I give it 4 brunchin’ bimbos and fedora clad boyfriends out of 5!

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