Tone-Deaf differentiates itself from the average psychological thriller in that it tries to understand the antagonist’s pathology. It depicts his delusions in surreal ways that’ll have you scratching your head. We get to know him more than we know Amanda Crew’s character, who, as it turns out, is just an ordinary girl: can’t live without her phone, drinks rum and coke, cheats on her boyfriend...
I wanted to like this film as much as I did Excision, also written and directed by Richard Bates Jr., but I felt something missing. In the end, Bates took the simplest possible hook and made it extraordinary, often by use of nightmares and visions, in a movie without a supernatural element. Tone-Deaf is the very definition of arthouse cinema. It’s not for everyone.
The main protagonist is surrounded by assholes, who won’t think twice before insulting her, drugging her, or killing her. There must be a commentary somewhere buried in here, but it’s drowning in useless subplots. There aren’t many characters in this story, yet we only needed half of them to get the picture. Ray Wise and Robert Patrick are the biggest names, and they are underused.