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 / 5)