Director: Richard Bates Jr.
Cast: Robert Patrick, Amanda Crew, Hayley Marie Norman
Release Date: October 22, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6.5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
After being dumped by both her boss and her boyfriend, Olive (Amanda Crew) flees the city for the weekend and rents an ornate country house from an old-fashioned widower named Harvey (Robert Patrick). She’s hoping for a few days of peace. What she gets is a weekend of sheer terror, as Olive awakens Harvey’s darkest urges—and is plunged into a blood-soaked fight for her life.
‘Tone-Deaf’ joins down on her luck Olive (Crew) who after being suddenly fired by her creepy, flirtatious boss and then splitting with her live-in boyfriend almost immediately after decides to take the advice of her friends and family and get out of the city for a relaxing weekend. Unfortunately, when she finds a gorgeous little home in the country that she’s able to rent for a weekend last minute from the peculiar Harvey (Patrick) she gets just the opposite when Harvey decides to finally enact a longtime fantasy of his to commit murder and picks Olive as the unlucky victim to be.
Written and directed by Richard Bates Jr. (Excision, Suburban Gothic) who does a great job at the helm of ‘Tone-Deaf’ guiding along his own script with a fast pace and a dark sense of humor that works rather well most of the time. The film also benefits from a pretty well selected cast that includes Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day), Amanda Crew (TV’s Silicon Valley), Hayley Marie Norman (Hancock), Johnny Pemberton (TV’s Superstore), Nancy Linehan Charles (3 From Hell), AnnaLynne McCord (Excision), Ray Wise (TV’s Fresh Off The Boat) and Kim Delaney (TV’s Army Wives) along with more, and most offering fitting and capable overall performances in each of their respective roles, even while Patrick tends to continually steal the show with his nasty portrayal of our disturbed secondary lead.
‘Tone-Deaf’ is a dark and somewhat comedic thriller that serves up a bloody and tense tale that goes to some mildly surprising places and isn’t afraid to get nasty on occasion. In many ways, it’s a delightfully odd film that manages to continually surprise you along its course as it cleverly finds new ways to take things to unexpectedly brutal levels, while never hesitating to have some fun with the dark content as the twisted story evolves. Eventually forming into an enjoyable and funny horror comedy that genre fans will want to try and find time to check out, at least at some point down the road. It does find itself struggling in a few occasions and some of the humor doesn’t always land, and the breaking the fourth wall moments tend to cause more eye-rolling than smiles or thoughtful consideration, but even so the good still definitely outweighs the bad. I would encourage genre fans and anyone already interested in the film to try and give ‘Tone-Deaf’ a whirl. It’s smoothly guided along by director Richard Bates Jr. from his own screenplay and his work behind the camera is greatly complimented by leads Robert Patrick and Amanda Crew, Patrick in particular offering a nasty and splendidly dark performance that’s a treat in itself to behold. It’s a pretty solid horror comedy with plenty to offer and there’s a good chance you’ll have quite a bit of fun with it at the very least.
Overall, ‘Tone-Deaf’ is a bloody, brutal and twistedly funny horror comedy with a smart concept at its core and a capable pair of actors in Robert Patrick and Amanda Crew to pull it off. ‘Tone-Deaf’ is recommended for genre fans, especially those that enjoy an offbeat and darkly humorous film that isn’t afraid to take things to some notably dark places. Even while some of the content may get overly silly and it occasionally struggles along its course, the film still has enough clever and brutal fun to offer that much of the negative can be forgiven or at least discarded in favor of the positive. Many may be understandably hesitant to drop the money on a blind purchase, although it should be worth the cost of a rental and 90 minutes of your time for anyone whose interest is already piqued.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Tone-Deaf’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks great as a whole and offers a sharp and detailed presentation from start to finish that’s boosted by a more than sufficient bitrate and suffers no noticeable faults throughout. It holds up with ease even during the various darkly lit and fast moving sequences, never allowing anything occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a pretty fantastic high definition video presentation that should easily satisfy both fans of the film and first time viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack serves up a crisp, clean and at times quite aggressive audio presentation throughout. It continually takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send nature effects and music, along with creepy sounds and plenty more throughout the various speakers whenever appropriate, and never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a great 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it and contributes nicely to the film’s ambiance.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Tone-Deaf’ includes only a single extra, although a decent one. Included is the Behind the Scenes Featurette ‘The Struggle is Real: Making Tone-Deaf’ (running approximately 21 minutes in length) which features interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus some behind the scenes footage and more.