Monday, May 3, 2021

Fried Barry (2020)



Streaming Services: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Fried Barry (2020)
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi
Length: 99 minutes
Rating: NR
Production/Distribution: The Department of Special Projects, The Department of Special Projects, Enigma Ace Films, Panalux, Panavision, Zootee Studios, Shudder
Director: Ryan Kruger
Writer:  Ryan Kruger, James C. Williamson
Actors: Gary Green, Chanelle de Jager, Brett Williams, Joey Cramer, Bianka Hartenstein, Sean Cameron Michael, Steve Wall, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Tamer Burjaq, Jonathan Pienaar, Colin Moss, Brendan Sean Murray, Ryan Kruger, Marty Kintu, Gaham Clarke
 
Blurb from IMDb: 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. FRIED BARRY is based upon the short film of the same name, which earned 57 official selections and 12 wins at festivals around the world.
 

Selina’s Point of View:
The past hour-and-a-half has been torture.
 
Before I go too far into reviewing Fried Barry, however, I need to take a few things into account.
 
First, and foremost, I don’t tend to like experimental films. Much as I love the horror-comedy sub-genre, there are only a small amount that I’ve ever seen that claim to be ‘experimental’. I’ve liked none of them.
 
Secondly, the director didn’t set out to make a good film.
 
Director Ryan Kruger (The Man Who Beat the Man, Prime Circle: Doors, The SA Way) has stated in several interviews that he wasn’t out to make a flick that everyone would like. There are plenty of people that shy away from mainstream film-making, but his intentions go beyond even that. He sought to make something so strange and unique and ridiculous, that it becomes unforgettable by default.
 
He wanted to make a cult film.
 
I thought that was a little bold of him. Bold to assume that a ‘cult’ status is something that you can seek out from the start.
 
Cult cinema is usually eccentric. It involves original pieces that are extremely memorable and re-watchable. If that was the whole definition of the cult genre, then yeah, you could definitely predict if a project was going to hit the mark. But it’s not.
 
It’s not just about how a film is created, written, or even developed. It can be something that comes out in wide releases or just sent straight to video. What makes a cult film is how it’s received.
 

Directors make movies for specific genres. They can seek to make drama, or a horror, or a romance. They can seek to make flicks that settle into sub-genres like teen stories, superheroes, occult, etc. But it’s the audience that makes a film: cult.
 
No director can control the audience.
 
That said, I think Kruger is onto something here.
 
I’m not going to lie, I fucking hate it. There is not a god damn thing that I enjoyed about Fried Barry. Personally, I’d rather never watch any other movies than watch this one again. It was, as I said earlier, torture to sit through.
 
If I look at it through the scope of what the director was trying to do, though…
 
I think there’s a possibility he succeeded.
 
I will never be able to unsee Fried Barry. It will be scorched into my brain for eternity. It’s weird, and ridiculous and absolutely disgusting. And there are people that I know who will see it once and fall completely in love. They will adore it just for its eccentricity and the message they see behind the script. They will re-watch it and pass it along to others.
 
I will look at them strangely, but if those people actually form a cult for this film, they won’t need me or my opinion.
 
Ryan Kruger is a mad genius. Now get me out of here.
 

Cat’s Point of View:
I have stared at a blank page for a bit now, just…unsure how to put what I’m feeling into words in the wake of the credits rolling for Fried Barry.
 
One thing’s for sure, I feel fried by that movie. What the hell did I just watch?
 
Calling it a strange trip seems like it would be both too on the nose and, at the same time, the understatement of the century.
 
Let me revisit my earlier statement. There’s a second thing that’s ‘for sure’ here, as well. Kids should be nowhere near this movie. Not only is there flagrant and graphic drug use, but there are explicit sexual scenes, and some brief male nudity… among other things I can’t mention without spoilers.
 
The runtime for Fried Barry is just a little over an hour and a half, and there’s a freaking intermission break. Why? Did they run out of ideas for scene transitions? It was so brief that I’m not even sure that it was really intended to be used as such, and debated even mentioning it like it might have been a spoiler to do so. It illustrates the absolute wackiness of this film, however.

 
I think the tone is appropriately set when the opening credits list this as ‘A Ryan Kruger Thing.’  Not a movie or production. Its own creator called it a ‘thing.’
 
This is Kruger’s feature-length directorial debut, expanding a short that he had created back in 2017. I haven’t seen it, I’m afraid, so I can’t comment on whether or not this is a continuation of that story or just a revisitation to the character, etc.
 
If I had to sum this experience up in one word, it would be spastic. The story, characters, settings – everything was spazzy. I imagine that anyone watching this under the influence of mind-altering substances might get an entirely different experience – either in enjoyment or a one-way ticket to a bad trip.
 
The crazy thing is that I kind of liked it...a teeny tiny bit. I admit that grudgingly because this was frankly a horrifying and grotesque film experience that I cannot unsee. I was repulsed and drawn in by it at the same time. I spent a lot of time literally saying ‘what the fuck’ to myself, however. There were a few places I just had to laugh. Under all the insanity, there was an actual story. It surprised the hell out of me, to be honest.
 
I can tell you with certainty that I will never watch this again. This is, however, exactly the sort of movie you tell your friends about to get them to watch it in order to share the misery and see their reactions. For that reason, it very well may become a cult hit.
 
Either way, Fried Barry will be available on Shudder May 7.


Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 83%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6/10
 
Trust the Dice: Selina’s RatingPass/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating1.5/5
 
Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: NC-17
 
Movie Trailer:

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