The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Shudder] - FRIED BARRY | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [Shudder] - FRIED BARRY

fried barry review
Aliens inhabit the body of a South African heroin addict.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Ryan Kruger

Starring: Gary Green, Bianka Hartenstein, Sean Cameron Michael, Chanelle de Jager, Joey Cramer, Jonathan Pienaar

fried barry poster

You know that scene in The Terminator where a naked Arnie stumbles into the path of Bill Paxton and his punk friends, who mock his oddness before having their asses kicked? Or the scene in John Carpenter's Halloween where PJ Soles yaps away to a bedsheet clad Michael Myers, believing it's her boyfriend under the sheet? Or that bit in Night of the Creeps where Jill Whitlow has an earnest conversation with her boyfriend, not realising he's become an unresponsive zombie? Or how about…look, the point is there are dozens of movies that feature the comic trope of regular people interacting with a fish out of water weirdo. Ryan Kruger's patience testing feature debut Fried Barry takes this idea and stretches it out to 100 minutes that will either have you creased over with laughter (if you're on the right sort of substances) or rolling your eyes in disdain throughout.

fried barry review

The titular Barry (Gary Green, who looks like Paul Bettany on Meth – Paul Methany?) is a South African heroin addict who spends his days zonked out while neglecting his wife (Chanelle de Jager) and child. One evening while walking home after an afternoon spent chasing the dragon, Barry is abducted by aliens, who probe his privates in the most uncomfortable manner, taking over his body and returning to the streets to explore our planet through Barry's eyes.

As outlined above, what follows is a very 1980s fish out of water tale, one very much aimed at a stoner audience. Kruger seems to have set out to ruffle feathers with a line of humour that comes off as decidedly dated, with a few representations that could be described as borderline homophobic.

fried barry review

Remember the controversial Jonas Åkerlund directed promo for The Prodigy's 'Smack My Bitch Up'? Well that feels like the primary inspiration for Kruger's film, with Barry traversing his way through a city, having sex (somehow women find him irresistible), getting into fights and occasionally healing people like Jeff Bridges in Starman. It's all stuff you've seen countless times before, especially if you were around in the '80s, the decade Fried Barry is very much a throwback to.

Fried Barry plays its nostalgic hand from the off, opening with a spoof of those age restriction warnings that came on VHS rentals, where some square would warn you about the content you were about to watch. There's even an intermission halfway through that prompts viewers to visit the lobby for snacks and soda. Perhaps a decade ago such touches might have seemed novel, but the whole '80s nostalgia kick has grown tiresome by this point.

fried barry review

Kruger's feature debut is an expansion of a three minute short he made back in 2017, but by expanding it he's stretched it to breaking point. 20 minutes in and you've pretty much seen all it has to offer. Kruger certainly has a distinctive in-your-face style, which may win him some fans of an edgelord nature, but if you're looking for originality in narrative terms, well, forget about it. Kruger's film is probably best enjoyed if your brain is as fried as its protagonist.

Fried Barry
 is on Shudder UK/ROI from May 7th.

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