Recently added to Shudder is the South African horror movie, Fried Barry. The film – written and directed by Ryan Kruger – stars Gary Green, Bianka Harenstein, and Sean Cameron Michael, and tells the story of a middle-aged drug addict, who finds himself experiencing a very wild night.
At the centre of the movie is Barry – a washed-up guy who doesn’t have a lot going on. He’s got a partner, and is a father to one child, but he shows very little interest in his domestic situation and instead prefers escapism at the end of a needle.
One day, following an argument with his partner, Barry heads off to the local pub to sink a beer. Here he meets a kindred spirit who suggests they leave the bar and head back to his house, to shoot up.
Barry agrees and soon they are both sharing a needle. But as Barry begins to drift out of consciousness, he experiences what appears to be a malevolent force taking over his body.
Upon waking up from the dream-like state he was in, Barry is suddenly very different. It would seem that something has taken control of his mind, and it is keen to explore the night.
As Barry stumbles out into the local neighbourhood, he finds himself moving from location to location, encountering new people and getting into strange situations along the way. But has Barry really been possessed by something sinister, or is he merely having a drug-fuelled trip?
There really is no way to describe Fried Barry other than to say this is a very, very, very weird movie. Mainstream audience will think it too bizarre, while those with broader tastes may find themselves scratching their heads wondering what the heck they are watching.
I consider myself to have pretty broad tastes and I most certainly scratched my head a few times. I also questioned whether or not I should have been on drugs while watching the movie.
For the record, I was not on drugs watching Fried Barry. On reflection, this was probably a bad decision on my part.
Had I taken a mind-altering narcotic, there is a good chance I would have felt more at ease with the material I was viewing. Or at the very least, I wouldn’t have cared what I was watching and would have simply got lost in the colours and sounds of the film.
I would also have stopped questioning why the lead character got to have so much sex in the movie. Barry gets his leg over a ridiculous number of times throughout the film, which is quite surprising considering he spends the majority of the movie looking as if he just crawled out of a skip.
I promise you I’m not jealous (well, maybe a little), but having spent many a night out on the town in my younger days, I can’t help but feel a little short changed. Who knew that the way to a seemingly endless evening of sex was to throw as many drugs into your body as possible?! I guess all those Archers and lemonades I consumed, to ‘have a good time’, was just a waste of money.
But I digress…
So, yes, Barry gets lots of sex. He also watches someone throw up, he saves a stranger from having a heart attack, he impregnates a sex worker, he gets locked up in a medical facility, and he bites a guy’s dick off.
I mentioned this movie was weird, right? This movie is beyond weird – and yet I couldn’t stop watching. The film had me oddly transfixed and despite the fact I barely had a clue what was going on, I felt compelled to push forward with it.
The soundtrack, the lighting, and some of the shots, all make this movie feel interesting. The same can also be said for actor Gary Green, who becomes the driving force of the picture and keeps everything chugging along.
As Barry, Green gets to throw himself into an unusual role which requires hardly any dialogue, but does require a very expressive performance. His facial features, as well as his movements, tell the story, and he has to walk a fine line between drug-addled weirdo and completely possessed.
Is Barry taken over by a demonic/alien force, or does he spend the entirety of the movie off his box? I honestly have no idea and the movie never quite makes it clear.
Green’s performance is that good, he manages to maintain the ambiguity of the story. His character might be monosyllabic, but his performance is nuanced, and he helps to keep the central mystery running, which leaves much to talk about once the credits roll.
Fried Barry is bonkers. Many will hate this movie, some will love it, while for me it falls somewhere in the middle.
Fried Barry isn’t something I would rush back to, but it isn’t a bad movie, it’s just odd – although, a well-made odd movie at that. It’s not a movie to sit down and watch with the family – and an old school ratings disclaimer at the beginning of the picture makes this very clear – but it is a film to watch if you like the weirder side of cinema.
Watch it if you’re intrigued. However, if you find that you simply can’t get into it after a good 20-minutes, then understand that this isn’t for you, and move on.
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