Fried Barry (South Africa, 2021)

A drug addict gets a new lease on life…but not how he expected it in this wild and wacky sci-fi horror-comedy.

Barry has had a rough life. Despite having a lovely wife, Suz, and son, Robert, Barry’s drug addictions have gotten the better of him. Because of his downfall, Suz no longer respects the man she once loved and feels he is worthless. After getting a hit with a local barfly, Barry soon finds himself brought up to the sky as he has been abducted by aliens. Soon enough, Barry’s downfall spiral soon becomes a major high like he never expected.

With an alien now using Barry as its host, the alien decides to see the insanity of Cape Town. From hitting a nightspot to beating up abusive dads to kids, the alien discovers what life is like for Barry. Soon enough, due to Barry’s addictions, the alien also begins to wander down a spiral that could end up destroying Barry unless it can do something to make Barry quit once and for all. Will the alien be able to help Barry out or will the addictions become too much for both alien and host?

This South African madness is a wild and crazy film whose origin comes from a short film in 2017 about a drug addict’s descent into madness after getting a hit. Co-writer and director Ryan Kruger decided to expand on it and make it his feature film directorial debut. What’s insane about the film is that while Kruger and co-writer James C. Williamson wrote the film, the dialogue itself seems to be mostly improvised, which allows the actors to go all out…and go all out they do.

Gary Green, who played Barry in the short film, returns to the role and does an impeccable job here. When we first see him, he’s just completely down and out and finds himself soon abducted by aliens. Here, Kruger juxtaposes Barry’s reality to a major trip on a high, something that looks like it came out of something like The Matrix. For the remainder of the film, Green gets to express a talent for physical comedy and action, from getting spaced out to engaging in various situations that allow him to pull off some wild facial expressions and actions.

The supporting cast include some familiar faces in this illustrious industry. Van Der Merwe’s Chanelle de Jager plays Barry’s housewife Suz (whose name coincidentally is the same name as her character in VDM), who at first sight disrespects Barry but is justified. Soon enough, once the alien takes over Barry, things slowly improve for Barry’s family. However, in one of the film’s wild moments, Barry consummates a quickie affair with a local hooker only to see her rapidly get pregnant and give birth to a baby within minutes after said consummation. Even more, we see Barry captured by a lunatic, played by Ring of Beasts’ co-star Jonathan Pienaar and the two engage in a fight that involves well, a chainsaw. Triggered’s Sean Cameron Michael makes a funny appearance when Barry ends up in a mental asylum and Michael plays one of the inmates.

Even Kruger and Williamson themselves get in on the fun. Kruger can be seen as the character Danny B while Williamson offers Barry cheese in a hysterical way at a supermarket after Barry and Suz’s rekindling.

Fried Barry is a wild and wacky joyride of an alien playing host to a deadbeat drug addict. Gary Green owns the film with his excellent physical manners throughout the film. A fun and insane film from South Africa.

WFG RATING: A

Shudder presents an Enigma Ace Films in association with the Department of Special Projects. Director: Ryan Kruger. Producers: Ryan Kruger and James C. Williamson. Writers: Ryan Kruger and James C. Williamson. Cinematography: Gareth Place. Editing: Stephen Du Plessis.

Cast: Gary Green, Chanelle de Jager, Brett Williams, Joey Cramer, Bianka Hartensen, Sean Cameron Michael, Jonathan Pienaar, Steve Wall, Hakeen Kae-Kazim.

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