Sunday, August 25, 2019

Generation Snapped: Tone-Deaf (2019)

Tone-Deaf (2019)
Rating: ***
Starring: Amanda Crew, Robert Patrick, Hayley Marie Norman

The unanimity regarding the term "millennial" is that it covers people reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century, which I guess meant those born between the early 1980s to the early 90s. The term is also often associated with pampering and nurture which would spin into entitlement and narcissism, more or less creating a trope out of it as the name an old person would give a young person they don't like under the pretense that they're worst living age group to have existed, even though I'm quite sure the same must have been said for Generation X 's and Y's.

Being the kind of guy who prefers to lie low and enjoy life at its simplest, I never really bother getting caught up with these kinds of ideals and arguments as I find it rather pointless (Just wait for a few decades, I'm sure we "millennials" will have our own age group to grumble upon) but one cannot deny the inevitable change of time and how things are so different now. Some people rolls with the punches, some choose to stay quite and keep their opinions to themselves. Others go bitter with hate and then we got the few offenders who go beyond hate. Like our villain here in Tone-Deaf (2019).

After recently dumping her unimpressive boyfriend and getting fired from a job by a spiteful boss, Olive (Amanda Crew) drives off the city and rents an ornate country house from an old widower named Harvey (Robert Patrick) for a much needed change of scenery. As she tries to reflect on her life choices and not bore herself bonkers by FaceTiming her friends, phoning her hippie mum Crystal (Kim Delaney) and tripping on acid, Olive is unaware that Harvey is actually a closeted psycho, grown despondent and demented from what he sees as a disappointing generation.

With an itch to kill growing ever so alarming, Harvey originally planned on murdering Olive within the rented home then and there but after getting a bad case of cold feet, he opted to stalk her first, plan out his actions a bit more while distracting himself by murdering a few other folks that just happens to be in the way or that strike him as irksome. It isn't long before the two troubled generations catch up in a good game of cat-and-mouse as Olive and Harvey clashes and blood gets spilled.

A satirical slasher comedy with a really strong potential to go deeper, Tone-Deaf (2019) makes a passable effort with its comedic elements, tackling the "self-absorbed millennial" trope to poke out an earnest chuckle or two, all the while visualizing the possible spite the so-called "baby bloomers" might have for the modern young adults through probably the best character to come out of this film.
It does suffer a dragging pace, a few flat jokes and one-note characters, but director Richard Bates jr. have this film covered in pretty much everything else as it is shot well with a few genuinely funny yet surprisingly heartwarming sequences (watch the LSD trip) and too a few unexpected dark surprises (Harvey's brief encounter with a red herring and their victim), all in an exhilarating direction, artsy editing and macabre imagery.

Gore and bloodletting are a tad light albeit the moderate killcount, but I can look past that thanks to the mad old man ramblings of our villain as he criticizes (often through a broken fourth wall) what he believes is wrong with today's society from politics, ethics, and even religion. I do find it a bit disappointing that we never get to explore Harvey's backstory apart from small hints of him being a terrible husband and a downcast father as a few more details into his personality and possible descent to dementia could have painted him a more memorable villain. On the protagonist's side, Olive did get the grace (?) of being written somewhat fairly as a walking cliche of a modern day young adult woman, though attempts to further explore why she is this way were attempted but, sadly, limited to primarily a running gag about her being terrible pianist. (Hence, the title) With these two being the movie's main focus, I do wish Bates did better characterizing them so we could have at least an overall more interesting final product, but what we do ended up having is still far from being that bad so not a complete lost.

An okay satire slasher with a compelling villain and a kinda meh-ish lead girl, Tone-Deaf (2019) hits an ample amount of good marks to be watchable may it be for the easy laughs, cheap scares or fair-looking kills. It ain't for everybody, but if you're aren't looking for a high horse among mules and just wants a fun and silly bodycounter with a somewhat different theme to it, why not give this a try?

1 male hanged
1 female glimpsed cutting her throat with a pen knife (flashback/vision)
1 elderly female stabbed to death with a buck knife
1 male brained to death with a hammer
1 female brained to death with a hammer
1 male axed on the head
1 male axed on the head
1 male repeatedly shot, had his chest repeatedly stabbed with a pen knife
Total: 8

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