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Tickled (2016) May 2nd, 2021

This might make you uncomfortable, but tickling probably has an evolutionary advantage. Maybe it’s related to shivering? Maybe a common ancestor survived longer because they were better suited to avoid danger than their non-ticklish kin? I don’t know, but evolution doesn’t lie, we’re ticklish for a reason.

Tickled isn’t really a documentary about the evolution of tickling, or people who like being tickled, or Competitive Endurance Tickling; it’s advertised subject. No, Tickled is really about how much mayhem affluent creeps can get away with.

Tickled made me squirm but I also loved it… I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. Much like other things I’ve enjoyed and reviewed, I don’t want to spoil too much. But here’s the crash course on Tickled: New Zealand Journalist David Farrier discovers Competitive Endurance Tickling videos online. These videos usually feature fit young men tickling another fit young man, who’s strapped to a bed, for an extended period of time. Sometimes upwards of 10 minutes of tickling. Farrier’s investigating begins by contacting the company responsible for recruiting men for these videos and is met with extreme resistance. He’s threatened, harassed and told if he doesn’t stop asking questions and cease his investigation immediately he’ll be met with serious, and expensive, legal action.

Farrier thinks there’s a reason the company behind the more than slightly homoerotic videos is so defensive, and he aims to find out why. What follows is an incredible revealing look into a world where a shadow organization pays young men thousands of dollars to appear in Competitive Endurance Tickling videos. Eventually the production company behind these videos will use them to blackmail the participants into silence.

The rabbit hole goes deeper and gets stranger than I ever imagined but the end probably won’t shock you, if anyone of significance had been implicated in any sort of tickling scandal you would’ve heard about it before reading my review of a six year old documentary. This isn’t the Jeffery Epstein story. That’s exactly why Tickled is so terrifying. The crimes perpetrated in Tickled don’t involve influential people or their billions of dollars. These are crimes anyone could commit and probably get away with.

Tickled is a fascinating story worth watching. It’s creepy, revealing, and funny.

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