The Scariest Movie Of The Year May Be A Documentary About Competitive Tickling — VIDEO

The months ahead will see the premieres of plenty of scary movies, from the old-fashioned chills of The Conjuring 2 to the timely thrills of The Purge: Election Year, from the evil spirits of The Darkness to the evil sharks of The Shallows. But the most horrifying film of the year is likely to be a documentary about competitive endurance tickling… if the official Tickled trailer is any indication.

"What on earth is competitive endurance tickling?" That's a great question — the answer to which is a hell of a lot more complicated than it seems, according to Tickled. The documentary premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, where it was one of the buzziest docs of the year. (HBO acquired the rights to air the film on television; Magnolia Pictures will start distributing it in theaters this June.) The movie was made David Farrier, a New Zealand-based media personality who has devoted his life to reporting on odd people and events. Thinking that competitive tickling would be right up his alley, he began filming this doc, only for it get much weirder — and much scarier — than he ever imagined.

The trailer follows this progression from the blithely eccentric to the downright terrifying, with the transition so subtle that you don't even realize the moment you went from watching an ad for a funny documentary to a spine-tingling horror film. In the trailer, a quote from Esquire warns audiences that the doc is in reality "a mystery-horror thriller in which the bogeyman is everywhere," and another from The Hollywood Reporter promises that, "By the time Tickled fades out, no one is laughing." Cut to: a manical voice cackling while a shocked woman intones, "My god. Oh my god."

Tickled may not involve any actual murder (as far as the trailer is concerned, anyway), but its conspiracy/mystery tone lends itself nicely to the true crime phenomenon that has been sweeping our country lately, thanks to the likes of Serial, The Jinx, Making A Murder, and The People v. O.J. Simpson. You may not enjoy getting tickled, but you probably will enjoy getting to the bottom of the creepy mystery surrounding competitive endurance tickling… if you don't mind having a few nightmares afterwards, of course.

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Tickled will hit theaters on June 17.

Images: Magnolia Pictures (2)