Tickled movie poster
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Tickled
Tickled movie poster

Tickled Movie Review

If you ever thought tickling was a sinister activity, now you’re not alone. The documentary Tickled (now available to watch on digital streaming options) paints itself as an exploration of the world of competitive tickling, but in reality it's an investigation into a twisted and pained individual with a fetish for tickling so strong he's willing to create new identities, commit fraud and wildly threaten legal action to protect his secrets.

Do I explain? Can I explain? Should I explain?

Tickled is a tale of tickling. But it’s also a tale of catfishing. And power. And confusion. New Zealand journalist David Farrier becomes intrigued after he responds to an ad seeking young, physically fit men for a tickling competition, begins to receive harassing emails from the group’s organizer, and stumbles across some very shady individuals--who may or may not be the same person.

The entire documentary is a head-scratcher, but that’s what makes it so great. Farrier, along with co-director Dylan Reeve, film their investigation and often seem just as confused and perplexed as you inevitably will be. The subject matter is so outrageous, weird and unbelievable that you couldn’t make it up even if you tried (although I could see Chuck Palahniuk taking a stab at something similar, though it would probably involve more discussion about masturbating and hating yourself), and you sincerely feel the wide-eyed what-the-fuck sensation the filmmakers most certainly experienced when putting this deliciously entertaining piece of non-fiction together.

Tickled is the rare kind of documentary where you want them to make a sequel, or at least an addendum. Already associates of the firm/person who are the subjects of the documentary have shown up at the premiere and other screenings, filed lawsuits and presumably sent other harassing letters. Film critics have allegedly been contacted, too. And the world of competitive endurance tickling lives on. There is more to be explored, more crazy to be caught on camera.

Tickled is the kind of salacious documentary I love, a film that starts out as one thing and quickly evolves (spirals?) into something else altogether, something disturbing and weird and unfathomable and mindblowing. Tickled is the kind of documentary you should watch and cherish.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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