Tickled (2016)

Tickled caught my attention a while ago while I was looking for good documentaries on IMDb. Not only did it have a pretty high rating, but it sounded like an interesting watch as I had no idea there was such a thing as tickling competitions (like I had no idea there were arcade games competitions as The King of Kong A Fistful of Quarters taught me). 

Turns out there's no such a thing as tickling competitions as David Farrier, a pop culture reporter from New Zealand and co-director of this documentary, discovered when he started investigating. It all started when he stumbled across some videos on the internet in which young, athletic men were tied and tickled by each other. Farrier knew there was a story there so he started researching. 

David reaches out to the organizers, US-based Jane O'Brien Media, but he receives nothing but hostility, mostly homophobic rants against him (he is bisexual and he'd been living with a man at the time), so he partners with television producer Dylan Reeve, the other co-director, to learn more about these videos and the people who produce them. 

So at this point, I was expecting a documentary about some very bizarre subculture/fetish, but that's when Tickled gets serious. It turns out that this whole tickling thing is harmless to an extent. Sure, there's no physical harm and these young men get paid to do this stuff, which is why they did it, they needed the money, but if they refused to do more work, Jane O'Brien Media would post their videos, with their real names and all personal information, everywhere on the internet, and blackmail and bully them. One of the boys found the courage to talk to the filmmakers and he stated losing many jobs and opportunities because of those videos.

Magnolia Pictures
But it's not all. As Farrier and Reeve continue their investigation, they learn even more shocking things about this business and about the guy behind all this, David D'Amato, a sick individual that denies his own homosexually and finds pleasure in destroying the lives of those who refuse to do what he wants.

Though I would have liked the filmmakers to give us more details about D'Amato, especially about his work as an educator as it is in great conflict with his persona, and the pace is too slow at times, Tickled is pretty intriguing and well-done, it effectively shows how powerful money and position are and how they can help you basically get away with anything.

Also, you can't help but be tense throughout this because of what the filmmakers went through while making the documentary, all the dangers they met, and they did a very good job at showing the film through David's eyes and those of the people affected by this whole story.

Because of its disturbing subject, Tickled isn't always easy to watch but it definitely deserves to be watched. 


  1. Uhm... mi sa che stavolta passo :(
    Ormai sto concretizzando solo i buoni propositi sui recuperoni di vecchia data!

    1. Sapessi io quanti ne ho da recuperare! Non ci riuscirò mai, già lo so haha

  2. Ok.....way too weird but I feel bad for these men who are held hostage by this company..person...that is so wrong and I hope they have been able to break free

    1. They weren't held hostage, that's all part of the "game".