Tickled – Review

by Anne Hunt

I accidentally stumbled upon a trailer the other day of a film called Tickled. So I did what everybody would do and watched the trailer. And before I go on to the actual film, I’d like to point out that the trailer is a master-class in doing it’s job – getting you to scream “But what happens next? When and where can I see this film?”

Because, much like the film, it starts with New Zealand journalist David Farrier stumbling across a funny video on the internet. He specialized in the weird and wacky stories that you might see at the end of the news – to relieve the tension of the world negativity that preluded it. The video was of four young fit men kitted out in sports gear and taking part in ‘competitive endurance tickling’. Yep you read that right. Ticking. Endurance tickling. Competitively. And at this point you, and David the Journalist, are laughing at just how ludicrous that is.

David decides to contact Jane O’Brien Media, the company behind this competitive endurance tickling, and get some more information or perhaps an interview. The company responded in the most surprising and aggressive way: by effectively telling him to piss off with some derogatory slurs to his sexuality. David’s journalistic curiosity was piqued. What on earth was this company so defensive about?

And David delves right into a convoluted world of misconception, crime and just sheer craziness. It could quite easily have become a standard look into Internet fetishism. The film does explore that side of things briefly – yes there are people who film tickling videos for erotic pleasure, but the main focus of this documentary is to uncover the truth behind Jane O’Brien Media.

The company spends an inordinate amount of money flying men to LA for these competitive tickling events from all over the world, but there was no evidence to suggest the company was earning any money from these videos. If the tickling ‘athletes’ became disillusioned with the company, internet warfare erupted. The videos would pop up on websites and on youtube along with personal details, threats would arrive online and in the post, jobs would be lost from the exposure. Who was this company? And why were they running people’s lives?

Believe me when I say David and his friend Dylan get to the bottom of the conundrum, despite the lawsuits flying in from every direction, and it’s an incredible journey. I urge everyone to see the film. It’s worth it.


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