Fried Barry (2020) poster

Fried Barry (2020)


South Africa. 2020.


Director/Screenplay – Ryan Kruger, Story/Producers – Ryan Kruger & James C. Williamson, Photography – Gareth Place, Music – Haezer, Special Effects Supervisor – Ivan Jansen van Rensburg, Makeup Effects – Bianka Hartenstein, Production Design – Monica Rosie. Production Company – Enigma Ace Films/The Department of Special Projects.


Gary Green (Barry), Chantelle de Jager (Suz), Bianka Hartenstein (Prostitute), Jonathan Pienaar (Daddy), Reese Dettmer (Little Girl), Carin Bester (Horny Girl), Brett Williams (Jono)


In Cape Town, Barry is abusive to his wife Suz, is involved in drug deals and spends a lot of his time high or drunk. Wandering the street drunk one evening, he is snatched up by aliens and then returned with an alien inhabiting his body. The alien-inhabited Barry stumbles through the city, experiencing its low life, innocent in all its ways. A prostitute takes him to her place only for him to impregnate her and her to give birth to a child instantly. Back home, Barry imitates things he sees people say in the streets or on tv and Suz starts to think he has changed into a decent person.

Fried Barry was a full-length directorial debut for Ryan Kruger who had previously a number of credits as an actor and has made over thirty short films. Kruger had previously made the basics of this as Fried Barry (2017), a 3:45 minute short film that essentially features a drug-tripping Gary Green stumbling through a warehouse, which apparently gained a reasonable following.

Fried Barry feels like Ryan Kruger was inspired by a film like Starman (1984), which had an alien inhabiting the body of Jeff Bridges and passing through a series of experiences of Earth culture, or perhaps even more so The Brother from Another Planet (1984) with a mute Joe Morton wandering through Harlem or the more recent Under the Skin (2013) with Scarlett Johansson in a human body. You could point to any of these as the basis of the film – which Ryan Kruger then proceeds to turn on their head and place a uniquely South African take on the story.

Barry (Gary Green) in Fried Barry (2020)
Gary Green as Barry inhabited by an alien

In this case, the alien is sent on a crash course through the underside of Cape Town street life – encountering drug dealers, prostitutes, human traffickers, assorted petty lowlifes, consuming vast quantities of drugs and being locked in an asylum along the way. It is an odyssey that travels through the seedier underside of life as opposed to the usual upbeat paeans to the human condition that are dealt with in most of these alien visitor films.

Gary Green, previously a stuntman, has a tall figure, gaunt hollowed out eyes and balding head with long straggly long hair and a wispy beard, which makes him look like the human equivalent of Sasquatch before the film even begins. I didn’t find the journey through the Cape Town night life to be that interesting and many of the picaresque encounters do go on and are tedious. The film develops an occasional sense of humour – like where Barry is told to make noise during sex and responds with braying sounds, or how his blank repetition of phrases from tv and people around causes his long-suffering wife to think he has gained a newfound sensitivity and become endeared with him anew.

Trailer here

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