fried barry | ryan kruger | gary green | chanelle de jager | brett williams | alien | possession | possessed | drug | comedy | sci-fi | south africa | joey cramer | bianka hartenstein | sean cameron michael | steve wall | hakeem kae-kazim | tamer burjaq | jonathan pienaar
Film: Fried Barry
Director: Ryan Kruger
Writer: Ryan Kruger
Starring: Gary Green, Chanelle de Jager and Brett Williams
This is an interesting movie here. I first heard about it when the writer/director of Ryan Kruger reached out to me via social media. I tried to get a screener, but it was doing the festival rounds at that time so it didn’t work out. It was one that I put on a list of movies to check out though. This movie then hit Shudder and some podcasters I listen to talked about this one. I’m now checking this out as a double feature for Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast. The synopsis is Barry (Gary Green) is a drug-addled, abusive man who – after yet another bender – is abducted by aliens. He takes a backseat as an alien visitor assumes control of his body and takes it for a joyride through Cape Town.
Now I did clean up the synopsis a bit as it goes long and has some spoilers in it. The movie has an exploitation vibe with having a warning to not show this to children in the beginning. There is also an intermission in the middle that would get at the drive-in. We then see Earth from outer space and then someone coming out of a building. This is Barry. There is some interesting editing here showing someone using heroin. He goes home where he is nagged by his wife. This causes him to lash out and then leave.
Barry then heads to the bar where he meets with one of his friends. They leave from there to shoot up some heroin. As he is walking home, he is abducted by aliens. We get an interesting montage of him being probed and ultimately taken over. Barry is returned to Earth, but this time with an alien directing him.
What is interesting about this, the alien doesn’t know how to be human. We see him getting pulled every which way. Barry goes into a nightclub where he takes ecstasy and goes home with a woman. He meets with a prostitute and some thing quite strange happens when they have unprotected sex. The alien within Barry uses his powers to help a man having a heart attack. Also without much trying he fixes the relationship between him and his wife. We also get to see the darker side of Cape Town as Barry on autopilot moves through this three-day bender.
Now I decided to go a bit vague here as there isn’t much to the story. I read the trivia that this movie didn’t have a traditional script. They wanted more of the people in the scene to be more natural and improvise. I think this works better in the movie’s favor. This is a trip for sure in more than one way. We have this alien who doesn’t understand how to be human experiencing the pleasures of the flesh and partaking in drugs. This makes for an interesting allegory as well.
Where I think I should start is with the main character. Barry is a piece of work. He is a jerk. What is interesting though is near the end, we see that he might have been a good guy in the beginning. It appears that drugs ruined his life. When he is taken over, we see him just going through life being pulled in every which way. You’d think that being abducted would ruin his life, but it is fixing it. I must give credit here to Green. His performance is amazing. He does so much with facial expressions and with his eyes. He has doesn’t have much dialogue and what he does seems to be just repeating lines from characters. It works so well though with him trying to mimic being a human.
I do want to take this over to the social commentary here which I think this movie is conveying. This is showing how drugs ruin people’s lives. The whole movie is showing Barry going on a bender. Being taken over by aliens is like being taken over by drugs. The editing and cinematography are amazing here as well. We are getting surreal things that don’t make sense but being on drugs is like that. I haven’t taken much in the way of hard stuff like here. I have blacked out quite a few times in my day from drinking. What we are seeing here is the best way to describe what it is like and being able to do things without remembering. We are also seeing how crime is mixed with drugs. We see horrible pimps, drug dealers and even a scary sequence where Barry encounters a psychopath who kidnaps children. I get the vibe of how drugs can take you down this scary path and make people do horrible things.
Since I’ve already moved into this, I want to talk about the effects. This movie doesn’t seem to have a lot of them, but what we get is good. The practical effects look real to me. We get things like blood which had good color and consistency. There is something here with a pregnancy that worked. I also like the use of make-up, especially with Barry near the end of the movie. Everything he has gone through is taking a toll and it worked. There is some CGI here, but with how surreal some things are, it works for me. I’m positive overall here.
I have already brought up the acting of Green, which is great. I would say that the rest of the cast are solid. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure of a lot of the characters names, but I think by having them adlib and play the character how they want works. It seems to be it allows them to be more natural. I thought the woman playing Barry’s wife was good. There is a prostitute that we get to come back to a couple of times that was solid as well. We get such a wide range of characters and they all worked for me. They direct Barry to where he ends up in the end.
The last thing I want to delve into would be the soundtrack. This helps to build the atmosphere the movie needs. We get a lot of techno or electronic sounding music. It fits for the surreal images we are getting with the montages. As this movie was going through, I noticed this aspect enhancing scenes and it impressed me. Not necessarily a score that I would listen to outside of the movie, but it fits perfect for what was needed.
So then in conclusion here, this is an interesting movie with a solid social commentary behind it. I like the idea of this alien taking over someone that is unreliable like Barry. It is an interesting look at going on a bender and losing control of yourself. The acting seems natural enough to me which is a positive. The effects, cinematography and soundtrack are all good as well. I’m not sure everyone will enjoy this movie though. It has more of a darker arthouse vibe to it. Be warned as well, this is from South Africa. Most of it is English, but the accents can be a bit thick and there are also some people speaking Afrikaans as well. If this sounds interesting, I’d recommend trying it.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10