I wasn't exactly sure what I to expect when going into watching the documentary. The OCR world isn't new or unknown to me, having participated in close to 25 races in about two years time so I was quite familiar with the subject matter. Also, I've seen my share of niche interest documentaries that range from something overly produced, to film class projects gone horribly wrong. I entered Rise of the Sufferfests cautiously optimistic; in the same way I suppose a woman approaches the first meal that her boyfriend who has never cooked is making for her.
The good news is that Scott Keneally made a pretty good meal for me; one that has left me suitably satisfied. Sufferfests, does a good job providing some of the context and backstory into OCR going back to its roots in England with Mr. Mouse and Toughest... a history that I'm sure not many are even aware of; so if you're the type of person who likes to understand how things came to be; this movie in part does a balanced job in giving you some of the history with only a passing mention into the drama that is associated with it and the upstarts that followed Toughest. Something else that Sufferfests did (unexpected to me, at least) was to chronicle self ascribed "beta male" Scott Keneally (I really hate that term, BTW Scott) and his first forays into OCR, and watching his attempts at Toughest, and other races, turn into acts of validation of himself, who he is, and who he thinks that he wants to be. That part of the story, I think spoke to me the most, not because Scott's and my lives are similar, but because I do these same things - I race on the sides of mountains carrying heavy things, climb insurmountable ropes, and put myself through agonizing pain. I do it, to understand who I am; a question that rides throughout the movie.
Is this the best film in the world? No. Was this a way for Scott to get to go to England a couple of times to do Toughest? Quite possibly (and I'm jealous that I didn't come up with the idea first :) ) Is this film niche to the OCR community, and something that only OCR people will "get" ? I don't think so, in that if you're doing an OCR race, or have done one, you'll "get" a lot of what is talked about here, but this is a perfect film to sit down and watch with those people in your life who don't *get it* or crook their head to the side as you tell them all about the things you did this past weekend with the mud and the fire, so that it can possibly help promote a discussion as to why we do the things we do to ourselves.
I would watch this again.