Fried Barry‘ is a South African film, based on the 2017 short film of the same name. When lousy dad/husband and heroine junkie Barry gets abducted by aliens, he finds his body taken over by an extraterrestrial entity, who’s ready to explore Cape Town in the wildest way possible. Sex, drugs and violence take center stage for Mr. Alien, while signs of Barry’s own conscience seem to vanish with each passing day. This wannabe exploitative B-film is visually pleasing, has a euphonious score and uses some impressive special effects.. but not all we see on screen is that entertaining.

Ryan Kruger‘s first feature film contains so much (alien) sex and violence, it becomes a bit exhausting after a while. I guess it mostly depends on what you think is amusing, but personally it couldn’t keep my attention after the second techno-club cut scene takes Barry to yet another side-plot that seems plucked out of thin air.

Gary Green (Healing Land) gives a mind-boggling performance and is easily one of the stronger actors the film has to offer. Green is the one cohesive part of the film – consistent and mostly muted. I guess aliens didn’t come here to talk. The problem with ‘Fried Barry‘ is that it wants to do so much, but ends up failing to put all of these tools together. Another issue I had with Kruger’s film, is its problematic portrayal of sex-workers and the LGBTQ+ community. There’s two scenes in which men are either already having sex or looking for a casual hook up in a dirty bathroom. Both these exploitative scenes don’t end in a good way and seem like unnecessary plot devices in the worst way possible… A missed opportunity if you ask me.

Fried Barry is an off-putting thrill ride that doesn’t know when to stop. Could easily be compared to ‘Upgrade‘ meets ‘E.T.‘ on crack, but unfortunately this otherworldly phenomenon is just a bit too experimental and outrageously bonkers for my taste, which I know for sure will find itself a cult-following. What could’ve been a sleazefest with a fun premise ends up dead on arrival. It’s either right up your alley or you’ll end up hating it – either way, you’re warned.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Fried Barry‘ will screen as part of Fantasia International Film Festival’s 2020 program. Tickets are available HERE

Fantasia International Film Festival Review – ‘Fried Barry’

Reviewed online (screening as part of Fantasia International Film Festival), August 14, 2020. Running time: 99 min.

PRODUCTION: A The Depart of Special Projects, Enigma Ace Films production. Producers: Ryan Kruger, James C. Williamson. Executive producers: Ryan Kruger, Nicolai Fuglsig.

CREW: Director/screenplay: Ryan Kruger. Editor: Stephen Du Plessis. Cinematography: Gareth Place. Music: Haezer.

WITH: Gary Green, Brett Williams, Joey Cramer, Sean Cameron Michael, Steve Wall, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Chanelle de Jager, Kelsey Egan, Colin Moss, Brendan Sean Murray.

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