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John’s Horror Corner: Fried Barry (2020), a highly quirky, South African indie Sci-Horror about a weird alien abduction.

April 4, 2022

MY CALL:  This film is a very weird take on an alien abduction movie. It’s zany, but not as zany as the trailer suggested to me. Still an interesting watch.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Fried BarryFor more bizarre movies about aliens in human suits, try Xtro (1983), The Hidden (1987), The Borrower (1989) or Under the Skin (2013).

When I started this film, after reading its provocative description, I was hoping for the next Greasy Strangler (2016) meets The Hidden (1987); something slapstick over-the-top yet thoughtfully crafted in the gory, hilarious musings of brilliant insanity. As it turns out, if what I was expecting would be dialed up at an “11”, this was probably at about a “7.” Still zany, but not off-the-wall nuttiness.

A drug addict and abusive family man, Barry (Gary Green) is abducted by aliens—or, more accurately, his body becomes occupied and controlled by an alien. Now driving Barry’s body, this alien curiously and awkwardly observes late night in Cape Town. He stares inquisitively at shady transactions and dude-bros talking crap about women, partakes in recreational drug use and the club scene, and then this alien impregnates a prostitute who instantly expands and gives birth. There’s also a wild chainsaw scene.

For such a moderate budget, this film does everything it can to get a little wild. Director and co-writer Ryan Kruger (music videos and short films) fares well with his first feature film. Coming from a background of short films and music videos, his wide-angle street and city shots feel very indie. However, his close-quarters and montage-edited drug imagery are finely crafted, lit and colored. The music video DNA is strong, but it serves the film well stylistically despite an apparently humble budget.

This film tries to embrace both zaniness and learned humanity. By my viewing experience, I’d say this film needed to go full-tilt bonkers and leave most of the humanity behind, or focus more on the discovery of humanity altogether. Instead, it tried to do both, and it really didn’t feel that this movie captured a single identity as a result. Truth be told, this was an interesting watch, but far from the bonkers entertainment value for which I had hoped.

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