Fantasia Film Festival 2020: Fried Barry
Updated: Oct 7, 2020
Director/Writer: Ryan Kruger
Starring: Gary Green, Brett Williams, Joey Cramer
Barry is a drug-addled, abusive bastard who - after yet another bender - is abducted by aliens. Barry takes a backseat as an 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 our alien tourist enters the weird and wonderful world of humankind.
K. I came into Fried Barry having seen the short film it was based on, which is essentially an experimental piece where a heroin addict gets abducted by aliens, so I knew this was gonna be weird but nothing could have prepared me for what was in store. This is a full-fledged midnight movie (complete with a mock warning from the ratings board), the likes of which they don’t make anymore. It’s a whacked-out odyssey chocked full of weirdness. Once Barry becomes the host to the alien, he bounces around from one scenario to the next like some kind of deranged Forrest Gump encountering prostitutes, drug dealers, human traffickers and other sordid characters. The score and sound design by Haezer really help create the texture of this odd world. The visual style is highly saturated and colorful and gorgeous to look at. The narrative was constructed via improv and there are moments when you can tell, sometimes it drags here and there. But it’s also full of original and unique moments, deadpan humor and wild shit, so you can forgive most of its stumblings. Highly recommended for those that want to see something different. C. “What did I just watch?” is the phrase that will most likely be uttered by many that see Fried Barry and was probably the director’s intention. What the synopsis suggests is what you get as an alien takes over a drug addict’s body and has itself a wild bender. There’s a part of me that wants to try and explain/dissect the plot more but I think you’ll find that isn’t really the point. That being said I found the movie to keep my attention and have me wondering where alien Barry will end up next through his journey of experiencing some of what it’s like to be human… well experiencing humanity in the more primal, seedier sense. Though it is interesting despite it being an alien who shows no understanding of intercourse among homosapiens, there is a different treatment between the heterosexual and homosexual encounters. Which most of the dialogue is based around someone discussing sex, so maybe there’s a deeper reasoning behind that. It’s one of those movies that finds itself in this great predicament for arthouse or niche cinema. Its narrative is competent enough to fill that void of people looking for a weird movie to watch or suggest to their friends. However, it’s also strange enough that many of the criticisms one could find with the film become moot because they can be chalked up to “stylistic choices.” Even if they were not purposeful, like several instances of lull in the improvised script or with the acting, it ultimately doesn’t matter. What I will say for those that venture into making these types of movies, the audio and visuals have to be on point to make up for the lack of narrative. Fortunately it is beautiful in a vibrant-color-drenched sort of way, with a sound design that heightens the experience for an audience. Firing on all cylinders, Fried Barry plays like a grungy Gasper Noe flick, which no one knew they needed. J. As Kyle and Craig mention, this is a strange one. Barry is kind of an asshole and then he gets “possessed” by aliens, or whatever the hell actually happens and he sort of becomes… less of an asshole. I dunno if that’s technically correct but he stumbles around in a sort of amnesiac daze from one weirdo situation to another with no concept of what he’s doing. Hence in one scene he consumes about 25 MDMA pills without a care in the world. I found the situations he gets himself into to be fascinating although a bit repetitive as it goes from one to the next to the next to the next but they do all sort of up the batshit factor so that’s saying something. I wasn’t really sure what exactly was going on but I didn’t really care either. I wanna mention specifics but I can’t for spoilers sake and you really don’t wanna have anything spoiled in this, trust me. Just go along for the insanity ride.
C. We all agree that it’s designed to enter the growing subgenre of a “midnight movie.” Will it enter the ranks of those kinds of classics like El Topo? Maybe if it was made a few decades prior but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a wacky trip if you’re willing to take it. J. Batshit. Drugs. Aliens. Stream of consciousness. See it. K. I can’t really add much to what’s already been said. I agree with my cohorts. It’s really a crazy ride, that’s visually interesting and totally weird. Whatever faults it may have, they don’t seem to be the point of it, so if this sounds like your bag, buckle up for the ride. Bloodhound’s average score: 3 ½ out of 5