• Warning: Spoilers
    New Zealand journalist David Farrier (tv series Short Poppies, etc) has made a career out of looking at the weird side of life. But even he was unprepared for the fallout after stumbling upon a website about "competitive endurance tickling" in which young men were paid to be tied up and tickled, complete with some videos. Although the on-line videos were pretty harmless, they piqued his curiosity and Farrier decided to find out more. But when he contacted Jane O'Brien Media to try an arrange an interview he was harassed and threatened with lawsuits from a high powered US firm. Their secretive and aggressive manner intrigued Farrier even further and he tried to probe beneath the surface. He and his collaborator, writer/filmmaker and computer expert Dylan Reeve, discovered a vaguely sinister to this tickling fetish as they travelled to Los Angeles and New York. Farrier talks to a couple of former tickle participants who talk about being blackmailed and threatened. What began as a light hearted investigation into something that initially seemed vaguely homoerotic but innocuous turned into a thriller as Farrier and Reeve tried to probe a web of corporate paperwork to find out the identity of the mysterious figures behind Jane O'Brien Media. By turns amusing and gripping, Tickled gives us a look at the darker side of the internet and a vaguely unsettling subculture, and explores themes of power, control, harassment, fetishism, corruption, and criminal activity. This is the first feature length documentary from Farrier, and he has an amiable screen presence, but he also demonstrates a dogged sense of purpose as he refuses to back down from threats and intimidation as he gets closer to learning the identity of the person behind this unusual enterprise. A strange and decidedly weird little documentary that is unexpectedly compelling and entertaining.