(directors: David Farrier/Dylan Reeve; cinematographer: Dominic Fryer; editor: Simon Coldrick; music: Florian Zwietnig/Rodi Kirkcaldy; cast: David Farrier, Dylan Reeve; Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Carthew Neal; Magnolia; 2016-New Zealand)
“A disturbing documentary about tickling that is not as funny as creepy.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A disturbing documentary about tickling that is not as funny as creepy. It’s directed with much passion by New Zealanders David Farrier and Dylan Reeve, that starts out as a harmless curiosity goof but suddenly turns into a nasty thriller. The playful gay television journalists Dave and his more reserved documentary filmmaker friend Dylan, were curious about a “competitive endurance tickling” they stumbled upon online, that advertises nice money and expenses paid for contestants to come to LA from anywhere in the world and sign up for the so- called sports event. On video it shows four young clothed men tickling a fifth into submission. When Dave and Dylan try to make a documentary about the event, they are surprisingly threatened with law suits by the wealthy backer of this dubious project. Deciding not to be bullied, they go forward with their doc and uncover a stranger than fiction story of a sadistic guy using unscrupulous means to make life miserable for participants no longer interested in the project and causing them to be under threat by law suits and public exposure. Eventually the one behind the scheme is unmasked and though arrested by the FBI, receives only a slap on the wrist despite admitting guilt to threats and carrying out this illegal federal activity. It’s learned his deceased father was the co-founder of a giant Wall Street firm and left the only child a big inheritance. Though serving a light prison sentence, he still got a law degree and after his release never stopped his evil “tickle competition.” To follow the full story without any more hints, would give the viewer the full impact of this peculiar story about a monster preying on those who can’t defend themselves.
REVIEWED ON 11/10/2016 GRADE: B+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/