International Premiere
Selection 2019


Directed by Richard Bates Jr.


Official selection

South by Southwest 2019


Richard Bates Jr.


Richard Bates Jr.


Keisha Castle-Hughes, Nancy Linehan Charles, Amanda Crew, Kim Delaney, AnnaLynne McCord, Hayley Marie Norman, Robert Patrick, Johnny Pemberton, Ray Wise


Brion Hambel, Paul Jensen, Matt Smith



USA 2019 87 mins OV English Subtitles : English
Genre Horror

“You’ll laugh, and feel bad about yourself for laughing, but just long enough to get sideswiped by the next punchline (or gutpunch, as the case may be). TONE-DEAF is acrid, caustic satire, but hard to shake off.”

“A tight little horror film about the current culture wars being waged between the red and blue ends of the political spectrum.”
The generation gap is about to be filled in with blood as newly jobless, fed-up-with-everything millennial Olive (Amanda Crew) takes a weekend getaway in the country and finds herself in a toxic pocket of rural America. The bridge-building magic of Airbnb has connected her with Henry (Robert Patrick), a widowed, angry-with-everything MAGA senior, whose country house she’ll be renting. Henry’s got issues. Olive does too. Henry’s also got psychopathic tendencies. And a bucket list that includes experiencing the act of murder.

The subversive visions of writer/director Richard Bates Jr have been a mainstay at Fantasia over the years, from his early short film work to EXCISION, SUBURBAN GOTHIC and TRASH FIRE. TONE-DEAF continues the filmmaker’s journey of exploring themes of interpersonal trauma through a heightened-reality prism of black comedy and confrontational satire, this time making a different kind of “home invasion” horror film to create an eccentric snapshot of the extremes and absurdities of modern America’s cultural/political climates. Propulsive with rapid-fire dialogue and venomous witticisms — and no shortage of Bates’ unique brand of shock value — the film pulls no punches, yet it’s a wildly entertaining affair that will have you laughing and cringing in equal measure. The cast is inspired, Crew and Patrick’s distinctive performance styles being ingenuously matched against one another, with an especially great Kim Delaney taking the increasingly outlandish proceedings to the next level. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Bates film without AnnaLynne McCord and Ray Wise. Get set to be triggered, people, because TONE-DEAF is coming to make America shake again. – Mitch Davis