HORROR ON VOD: ‘Tone Deaf’ Doesn’t Do Robert Patrick…Or Your Time Any Justice
I’ve never been one to give a flying shit about people complaining about millennials or baby boomers or whatever other dumbass names for age groups people use. Who gives a shit, really? Another war for people to fight pointlessly on Facebook? Gag we with a spoon.
However, the idea of a slasher born out of said stupid ass argument is much less yawn inducing.
This is what ‘Tone Deaf’ promises originally. Harvey (played by the T-1000 himself, Robert Patrick) is a hard core, old school, right winger. He hates millenials for a million stupid reasons and a couple of hilarious ones. He sometimes breaks the fourth wall to rage on the state of things and at one point even spits on us. All this is a blast at first, because the movie doesn’t appear to be taking sides or have an agenda to unveil. We meet Harvey’s counterpoint in Olive (Amanda Crew, who is spot on, unlike her character). Olive is the epitome of what Harvey hates in this world and worst of all for him, she’s proud of it.
Olive loses her job in the city and ends up renting Harvey’s house in the country as a getaway vacation to reset. Because, you know that’s what people do when they lose their jobs. Splurge on mini vacations. Harvey has set this whole thing up so that he can kill him an Airbnb booking millennial.
This seems pretty par for the course once we, as an audience have had a couple of conversations with Harvey. He tells us at one point that if any of us are millennials we should drink a bottle of bleach because ‘Hey, if we’re going to be useless and lazy we may as well help out with the overpopulation problem.’ Harvey is the real life version of the person you see write that kind of shit on internet message boards. It’s so weird to put a face on it and have that face be Robert Patrick but he sells being a motherfucker like a motherfucker.
Anyway, everything is going swimmingly for horror viewers up to this point. Harvey’s path to murder unleashes a wacky, blood filled spree that makes for a twisted and unpredictable serial killer origin story. The camerawork, cinematography and acting is all worthy of a wide release and at this point I wondered why it wasn’t. Not something I’m unused to seeing in direct to video horror films, just worth noting this film looks really good. Then I found out what went wrong.
Suddenly, about half way through ‘Tone Deaf’ becomes ‘The Justice League’ of VOD horror. This thing feels like it was made by two different directors and is completely bipolar. What was once a tight, playful script becomes sloppy as hell. What was unpredictable and fresh at one point has me fighting the urge to scroll through my phone the next (Something I know would have pissed Harvey off). Characters with absolutely no point (the Mom and some douchebag hippie guy) appear out of nowhere with awful attempts at comedy. Characters receive fatal injuries and then get up to walk across the room as if they’d just taken a painful shit and then the worst sin of all? The film chooses sides for us.
Don’t get me wrong. Clearly, Harvey is the bad guy here. He’s trying to kill an innocent, and yes, annoying young girl in Olive. Obviously, we’re rooting for her to survive. The issue is all in the dialogue. The script chooses to forego making fun of both sides in favor of clearly stomping on one side of the argument and pander to those that will hopefully agree. There was an agenda here all along. Boo.
What a waste of a well written, demented character in Harvey and the performances of both Patrick and Crew. There was a chance here to point out all that was wrong with Harvey’s views without reverting to the “take that, other side!” childish antics of a Facebook argument. The extremes of both sides of all these arguments is usually the wrong one and ‘Tone Deaf’ is just another victim of not understanding that.
There was so much going for this film, I really would love to know what changed halfway through. 4/10.