Few films have ever been made to be a cult flick made perfectly for group watches like Fried Barry is. A non-stop ride that doesn’t waste its time and takes no prisoners as each scene brings us something weird and wonderful for our alien in the vessel of Barry to encounter. A wild movie that barely gives its audience a second to breathe.
Barry (Gary Green) is a drug-addled degenerate who gets abducted by aliens after yet another bender. Barry takes a backseat as his alien visitor assumes control of his body and takes it for a joyride through Cape Town. What follows is an onslaught of drugs, sex, and violence as Barry’s alien tourist enters humankind’s weird and wonderful world.
As Fried Barry starts, we are truly given some easy bait to hate our protagonist and everyone he associates with outside of his family. It can be a bold choice to have a lead who is just horrible from top to bottom, but as we find after his alien abduction and torment, he is merely a vessel to show us this horrible underbelly of Cape Town.
When our reverse Under The Skin alien on Earth begins to see what is going on and understand the human way of life, we simply do not stop for a good hour. When it is said that Fried Barry doesn’t stop, it is meant as exactly as read, there is no let-up, to the pint Mad Max: Fury Road would be jealous of how constant this is. There is barely a connection between scenes as “Barry” goes to one play and is suddenly in a new situation without little to no thought. It can be seen as frustrating, though, as you want a minute to gather your thoughts, but Ryan Kruger has no time for that.
This is a film that confronts you from the start and thinks the idea of subtlety has no place in this realm. Only until we get to the mental institution do we get any form of a breather, and even then, we literally get a character confronting us with a big old close up shot. That small breather is so greatly welcomed as it does get to the point of exhaustion as each situation seems to try and counter the over the top scene before it. However, it all works, you are buckled in for the ride and with no clue of what is coming next we just have to brave ourselves for what is around the corner.
Gary Green is phenomenal here, as he mixes up a stoic, almost stunned performance as the alien inside Barry tries to work out what exactly is going on here, and his muted response to some of the events brings the laughter especially during some sexual scenes. Then we move onto the techno club scenes that have him ramping everything up to 11 as he uses his great physicality to go daft buck wild. Simple movements with his jaw are so effective and as the alien begins to be more comfortable in the world, his facial reactions become all the more humorous to us.
For all the madness and the sure-fire likelihood that this will be a cult smash upon release, there is an awful lot to be desired here as a singular film. By not having a proper narrative and doing far too much in such a short time, Fried Barry loses itself as it seems to indulge far more than it should. Next to no characters pop up again, and that is such as shame as we get some crazy but memorable characters who are almost wasted and ones that we also have most certainly met at some points at a bar or house party. Yet I enjoyed it thoroughly as it is actively refreshing to watch a film that doesn’t provide any form of clue of what is to unfold, you are really in the hands of Kruger and while occasionally a tad stressful, this is meant to be a fun wild ride of a film and it achieves that to great success.
Without a doubt, this is a film for a party watch, so the chaos and madness can cause illicit wild reactions, and if you are in a situation where that is possible, then this is the banana’s film for you.
Fried Barry premieres Friday, May 7th on Shudder.
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