Back in 2017, writer/director Ryan Kruger released an incredibly bizarre and trippy short film titled Fried Barry. One part cautionary tale of the dangers of heroin, one part surreal fever dream, this 3 minute film was incredibly captivating and garnered so much attention that for Shudder’s latest original film, Kruger wrote and directed a feature length version with an extra-terrestrial twist!
We meet Barry (Gary Green, who also played him in the short film), a heroin addict whose life doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. He can’t keep a job, opting to wander about all day looking for a fix, and he faces nothing but disappointment and hostility from home for not being a good provider, spouse, or parent.
As he’s walking home one night, a bright red light from the sky shines down on him and what ensues is some sort of unknown being from another world taking over his body, and exploring the world itself. And in the most humorously dark twist of all, he doesn’t seem all that different than before.
But as “Barry” goes around town and gets himself into trouble, his experiencing the world for the first time, there’s a lot of opportunity for dark humor. For this being inside Barry’s body, it has no idea what normal human interaction is like, so as it acts purely on urges and instinct, we got a few really funny moments that capture the absurd “rules” of society that most people just sort of accept.
Admittedly, we don’t see a whole lot of the extra-terrestrial element, and that seems very much intentional. Ryan Kruger’s goal seems less about weaving a complex narrative with plot twists, and more so with creating a unique experience with strong visuals and atmosphere. And in that regard, he’s very successful.
Between the synth-heavy score and bright neon colors, the whole movie is certainly very 80s-inspired. It blends amazing cinematography and art direction to create a 90 minute movie that can only be described as an experience.
And it’s all complimented by a lead performance that can’t be ignored. As previously mentioned, Gary Green starred in the 2017 short film in the same role, so he really knows what he’s doing here. Once the alien takes over Barry, he carries himself differently, even differentiating from his unhinged movements when he was high before.
For those familiar with Men in Black, he almost moves like Edgar the bug, but even less graceful. With a minimalist plot, a script that was more of an outline, and most of the dialogue being improvised, Green had the unique challenge of having to carry most of the movie and do so with just his body language and facial expressions.
All of this culminates together in a movie that truly has to be seen to be believed. It’s a 90 minute fever dream that’s just as bizarre and surreal as it is compelling. If you like your movies a little weird but in a creative way, it’s the movie for you!
What did you think of Fried Barry? What are some of your other favorite trippy horror/sci-fi movies? Let us know in the comments!
Fried Barry is streaming exclusively on Shudder
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