Hot Docs 2016 Review: Tickled
Tickled serves as a fun yet severe look at the weird communities that exist around the dark corners of the web.
The story follows David Farrier – a New Zealand media journalist who makes a living by searching out the weirdest and wackiest stories available – discovering the strange subculture of online tickling videos, which becomes the basis for his next journalistic pursuit.
Not far into his research, representatives from the tickling empire begin to assault and provoke Farrier to a frightening degree, causing him and his associate Kyle Reeve to investigate the matter more deeply.
As the pair fall into the underworld of this bizarre behavior, not to mention interview the people whose lives have been ruined by it, and in turn, others that profit as a result, a larger picture emerges of the horrors which lay dormant on the web, and the sordid double lives of everyday people.
Tickled is a difficult film to discuss – mainly because the majority of its plot is best experienced if you don’t know anything before going in. As far as real life stories go, it certainly provides one of the most fascinating and genuinely distressing narratives to be captured in non-fiction film in a long time. “The less you know, the better” applies twofold here – both in regard to discovering the secrets and surprises of the film first hand, and the truly shocking moments which will leave some viewers wishing they had remained in the dark instead.