[Review] Tingle Monsters (Final Girls Berlin Film Fest): No Safe Spaces, Online or Otherwise, for a Video Personality

Aficionados of the ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) trend  feel that they get a pleasant feeling, often a somewhat tickling or tingling sensation that runs from their scalps down the back of their necks, from listening to and watching videos on platforms such as YouTube in which people whisper or make noises such as chewing food or scraping a feather or paintbrush on a microphone. Writer/director/star Alexandra Serio goes for chills all the way down viewers’ spines in her horror short Tingle Monsters, which finds an online ASMR video host victimized by not only online trolls and abuse, but something in “real life,” as well.

Dee (Serio) returns after a long absence to livestream a video. Her remarks hint at a troubled relationship and a cross-country move to escape it as the reasons for her being away for so long. She has moved alone into her own apartment and is ready to begin broadcasting again, looking to create a safe space for her followers and herself. 

Viewers of Tingle Monsters have a vantage point of a computer screen, as if they are watching an actual livestream. Therefore, viewers can see chat comments pop up as Dee’s fans and detractors alike write everything from compliments to insults, and beyond. They can also see behind Dee, a view that she does not share with them. This is where the short film supplies chills beyond online harassment.

Using a current hot internet trend and the toxic environment that bullying males create online for women and girls, Serio has crafted a 10-minute short that delivers in both the social message and fright-fare departments. 

Tingle Monsters screened at Final Girls Berlin Film Fest, which ran February 6th –9th at City Kino Wedding in Berlin, Germany. 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.