Tickled All User Reviews (22)

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BY cinemusefilm superstar

Whether it is drama, comedy or documentary, New Zealand filmmakers punch above their weight. The documentary Tickled (2016) is one of the most unusual films you will see for a long time and a guaranteed conversation starter in the right company. While the film's title suggests comedic titillation, what it reveals is something sinister that has wrecked many lives. It is also a fine example of how dogged investigative journalism can stumble from something that appears innocuously weird into... More something bizarrely dangerous.

It is said that movies have plots while documentaries have premises. Pop-culture journalist David Farrier specialises in fringe phenomena and his premise is that if someone spends a fortune to stay anonymous they have something serious to hide. He comes across something described as "competitive endurance tickling" that involves the filming of young athletic males being tied down and tickled by one or more other young athletic males, all fully clothed. His initial inquiries to understand more about this activity are so aggressively stonewalled that he turns his investigation into a documentary with most of the filming in the United States.

Expecting to find a secretive cult of homoerotic activity, Farrier finds participants who have been subjected to extraordinary legal threats, extortion, and public shaming. The scale of intimidation and the lengths to which perpetrators are prepared to go indicate there is big money involved. The documentary feels like a parallel universe where things go from strange to stranger as the inquiries lead to a prominent and wealthy American lawyer who was a teacher and school principal. Farrier and his team-mate Dylan Reeve use old fashioned stakeouts, doorstop confrontations, and forensic web-based research to turn the study of a fringe fetish into a gripping thriller.

This is a well-produced documentary, especially for a novice filmmaker. Minor criticisms aside, like Ferrier's occasional tendency to tell rather than show and a few scenes that need tighter editing (like the time spent in the car stake-out), the overall pace, direction and content make this a totally engaging film. The hand-held filming technique and the unexpected twists and turns in the investigation impart real-time-discovery effects. A quick Google search will show that both during production and since the film's release Farrier and Reeve have been and still are under serious legal and financial threat. Not only do the filmmakers deserve a bravery award, their work is riveting from the laughter-filled opening scenes to the chilling closing credits.Hide


You've got to see this doco to believe it. I would say the less you know going into it, the better. Very entertaining. Must see!


BY Booper superstar

Finally got around to seeing David Farriers 'Tickled' and boy was it worth it. Firstly the run time 92 minutes, the perfect doco length - short, sharp and to the point. Hallelujah.

A lot of documentaries I have recently seen have not had enough footage and were very repetitive to start with I thought this might be the case with Tickled but it was constantly evolving and bringing in new points of interest. I have read a few reviews slating the kiwi lingo and use of swearing but I found this... More worked incredibly well and made it seem quintessentially kiwi - low key and a little bit crass.

I think supporting New Zealand film is very important and this will not disappoint.Hide


A rather disturbing doco on competitive tickling, with some disturbing characters to boot. Even the funny is funny in a disturbing way. The ticklers and ticklees are predominantly hunky guys, which is also disturbing. What, there's no market watching padded people get tickled. Overall funny and intriguing, not knowing where it was going or how it was going to end. Lastly, surely it's not real?


If you’ve never heard of competitive tickling, don’t worry you’re not alone, neither had New Zealand journalist David Farrier, until he stumbled on an online story. Much like British documentarian, Louis Theroux, Farrier’s faux naivety, general likability and gob-smacked curiosity propel him on a journey into the strange and surprisingly dark world of tickling.

His investigation leads to homophobic insults and legal threats, uncovering a bizarre underworld of organized... More cyber-harassment, giggle-worthy goings-on and kooky characters.

Rarely does a documentary manage to tickle your funny bone, pique your curiosity, and intrigue your imagination, but with Tickled, Farrier and co-director Dylan Reeve take you on a journey that fascinates, amuses, repels, entertains and appalls. No mean feat!Hide


This is a movie you just can't stop watching.

I still don't believe it is real but this is a documentary so it must be real.


You couldn't help but laugh when watching this engrossing documentary by David Farrier and Dylan Reeve, but at the same time feel rather uncomfortable and disturbed by just how deep the rabbit hole went. What started as a fluff piece of journalism turned into a creepy story of harassment, blackmail and bullying. Well worth the watch - don't miss it!


BY Andrews nobody

A glimpse into the extreme of human desire for control, contrasted with the inability of the formal system to provide protection against the acts of an individual


Very proud to be a New Zealander - David Ferrier & Dylan Reeve are like dogs with a bone in following this story. I just get so angry that people with money/power can get away with so much!! Where is the justice system in all of this? Why has it been allowed to continue for so long without any consequences for the person concerned?


Really fascinating and disturbing
Great NZ doco revealing a shocking series of events


A dynamic and ever-evolving movie, I was hooked from start to finish. Well done to all involved, this is a fantastic Kiwi documentary with oodles of emotional resonance.


BY madibuba nobody

The interest in endurance tickling certainly opened a can of worms. I am amazed that such a hidden agenda can come of something that seems so harmless. Those poor students, glad the investigation was caught on camera otherwise I wouldn’t have believed it!”


BY Andrew nobody

Very well produced with some very interesting insights into a slightly strange topic & also the unfortunate nature of some people. Well done. I would recommend


BY Hwin nobody

With what starts as a general inquiry about an unusual "Competitive Tickling" video online, this film jumps down the rabbit hole into a world of threats, blackmail and Tickling.
Whatever you think this movie is about, you'll find yourself surprised and oh so intrigued. A gripping watch all the way to the end


Watch for the lawsuits to follow. David D'Amato (aka Jane O’Brien/Debbie Kuhn/Terri DiSisto/Louis Peluso) seems to be a real piece of work.
This movie needs at the end of the credits "Watch this space..." as it certainly looks like the will need to be a follow-up piece.


BY Sam-Cray grader

If you enjoyed watching "The Jinx" but wanted less death, this is the doco for you. Well filmed, and very good at slowly uncovering the pieces of the puzzle, this is a bizarre yet engaging piece of journalism not to be missed.


A compelling and very entertaining doco that delivers a nicely-structured expose of some of the shadier sides of the tickling underground. Great control of tone and escalation, let down only by a rather abrupt ending that fizzles rather than bangs.


I wasn't sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised but also very disturbed by what went down. Who would have known that an innocent enquiry would become such a drama. I enjoyed it.


BY Katy207 nobody

Such a weird story that sucks you in wanting to know more. Recommend this highly.


BY Robb-Morison superstar

A basic subject matter, unravels to so much more. Great first effort at a full length documentary. On the down side, due to David Farriers long ties to TV3, it did seem a bit like an extended TV3 news item at times. Who would have thought a harmless tickle could lead to so much more.


Really really interesting, strange weird world that David uncovered, highly recommend.


BY NickNDA lister

The film opens with a montage of some of the weird and wacky 'news' items David Farrier produced for TV3's 'Nightline' news programme, before he quit to make this documentary with Dylan Reeve. I expected this doco to be similarly weird and wacky (and it is) but it rapidly becomes disturbing and creepy. Farrier uncovered a website that solicited young men to participate in Competitive Tickling, but when he dug further he discovered something was amiss. Young men were being paid large sums of... More money by a mysterious and secretive media company to allow themselves to be tickled on camera, only to discover later that if you refuse to participate in future videos you will be bullied, threatened, and blackmailed into making more.
Your initial thought may be 'that will teach you for being so stupid, dumbass' but the doco shows how unfair it all is. Prince might have the financial clout to remove all videos of him from the internet (which he did, until his death) but these young guys have no hope of eradicating their shame from the world wide web. One guy lodges a takedown notice with YouTube so the company respond by posting the same video on over a dozen other sites, as well as setting up websites in his name and emailing all his contacts and prospective employers with links to the videos.
This doco highlights the darkside of the web and shows just how dangerous it is in the wrong hands. That the person ultimately behind these tickling videos (yeah, for a moment I thought 'Tickling videos - this must be a mockumentary, right?' but no it's all real) can operate with impunity for decades, wreaking havoc on so many people is astounding. One might assume the FBI or similar would get involved but they don't. This perhaps is the documentary's underlying message: the internet is largely ungoverned and relies on the goodwill of those who participate in it. It's fine when everyone plays nicely together, but if someone wants to do bad things there's really not much to stop them. And if those bad things involve you, your image, and/or your identity you may find your life ruined.Hide