‘Fried Barry’ review

When an alien abducts a man and takes over his body, it has no idea what’s in store in the days to come, as it invaded the wrong guy in the wrong neighborhood. From South Africa comes writer-director Ryan Kruger’s first feature film, “Fried Barry”, which makes its Canadian premiere at Fantasia’s International Film Festival.

Barry (Gary Green) is a heroin addict, a horrible boyfriend and a despicable father. Out on yet another bender after a verbal dispute with his spouse, he roams the dangerous streets of his town and suddenly gets abducted by aliens. One of the other worldly creatures invades his body and returns down to Barry’s hazardous neighborhood, perhaps to study humankind. A journey of drugs, sex and an insane chain of events awaits him as we ask ourselves: who between Barry and the alien is truly more shocked?

Although it is classified as sci-fi, comedy and horror, “Fried Barry” isn’t all that much of a horror film, despite depicting some horrific sides of humanity in its darkest facets imaginable. It possesses a lot of ironic, dark humor, some emotion and a lot of awkward, absurd situations. Based on the writer-director’s 2017 short film of the same name, this project is definitely a work of experimentation. With its psychedelic first person point of view camera angles, ludicrous circumstances, its own odd, eccentric humor, 75% of the film seeming like a wild acid trip, and no true goal or purpose for the alien other than experiencing and witnessing the difficulties of this rough neighborhood, numerous aspects of the genre “experimental” are checked off. There is an endgame, however, without spoiling anything, in terms of life lessons and how society deals with its problems.

You’ll definitely burst out laughing at the hilarity of most of the secondary characters themselves, each being wilder than the previous in their actions and motives. From an over-excited club-goer to an unnecessarily horny grocery store cashier, you’re sure to get your fix of laughter. If that doesn’t get you, keep an eye out for how effective that alien sperm can be. Gary Green as Barry is simply phenomenal in a performance where he barely speaks. Starting off as a selfish junkie and transforming his facial expressions and body language once his biologic vessel has been taken over, he keeps us interested and truly makes the audience believe that there is an extraterrestrial being inside of him. You’ll get attached to his alien-esque character as those surrounding him seem to benefit from better treatment by him than when he was a regular human being.

Minimal parts “horror”, many parts “WTF”, “Fried Barry” will take you on a “Harold & Kumar-ish” adventure in a few nights of mind-blowing events that’ll keep you wondering how he got there. It’ll seem like the story is roaming aimlessly, only to make you ponder on how society is handling mental illness, drugs, and more. This South African film merits a well-deserved 7/10 score.

Article written by SIMON ROTHER

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