We seemingly missed out on this brilliant British horror short when it arrived during last year’s Halloween season, so here it is, better late than never: The Tickle Monster.
First of all, let us simply offer a word of warning: Try to ignore this poor rapper character’s embarrassing attempts to write a hip-hop song in the short’s opening moments. They’re as awkward as they are cringey. Focus, instead, on what happens next.
You see, when the young man in question looks away for a moment to check his phone, he feels an odd sensation like fingers tickling him … only to look up and see his girlfriend is still seated exactly where she was. This is where things take a turn for the decidedly creepy, thanks to her understated performance. Even as it becomes clear that something very unusual is going on, the girlfriend’s deadened expression and seeming disinterest in the supernatural events occurring do a really good job of heightening the suspense and the audience’s unease. Why is she so unconcerned as her tough-looking boyfriend is getting increasingly freaked out?
It all closes with one of the better jump scares we’ve seen in recent memory. Kudos to director Remi Weekes for making something legitimately frightening in the space of only four minutes. And be sure to watch out for the Tickle Monster tonight in the dark of your own room, of course.