Some movies aren’t so much narratives as they are pure experiences. The newly released sci-fi picture Fried Barry falls into this latter category of being an experience of sorts. The film follows an absolute bastard of a guy named Barry (Gary Green). Barry’s drug of choice is heroin, and everything else in his drug-addled brain and life takes a back seat to it. But, one night, everything changes for Barry when he’s abducted and probed by aliens. These extra-terrestrial beings then control Barry’s body to gain the whole human experience in one night. In this case, they’re interested in using Barry as a vessel for sex, drugs, debauchery, and a little bit of violence for good measure!
Now, just in case you’re one of the few folks reading this review who may misinterpret the plot synopsis, let me make this very clear. Fried Barry is not intended to be a realistic depiction of an addict. Hence, why I and the filmmakers dubbed the character of Barry as a “bastard.” I assure you that I (and I’m quite sure the folks who made this flick) empathize with the disease that is addiction in real life.
Alright, now that I have that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get into it! Fried Barry is an expansion of director/co-writer Ryan Kruger’s short film of the same name wherein Green portrays the titular Barry. While this aforementioned short film is nothing more than a torturous moment in Barry’s life, the feature film in review is a wild, psychedelic ride!
Instead of writing an actual screenplay, Kruger and his writing partner James C. Williamson merely outlined the major beats of the plot and let the rest of the on-screen events play out through improvisation. An approach that becomes obvious as the film plays out more like what I would imagine to be the worst acid trip. An acid trip followed by nightmares as the residual LSD you consumed early melts off your brainpan. The psychedelic cinematography by Gareth Place and the musical score by Haeze propels the bizarre journey that is Fried Barry. Thus, what should be nothing more than a 90-minute music video becomes an insane and unforgettable cinematic trip. Of course, I’d be remiss if I did not mention the stuntman and extra who plays the titular character- Gary Green. While the guy certainly won’t take home the tin for this flick, Green delivers one of the most impressive physical performances I’ve seen in recent years.
Ultimately, I’d describe Fried Barry as a cross between a perverse version of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) (which the director sights as a favorite film and inspiration) and Natural Born Killers (1994). If such a hybrid doesn’t sound like your bag, I get that. But, if you want to have an experience, then this flick is worth watching. Although, Fried Barry is admittedly a one-time watch for me. More importantly, though, it’s the most original flick I’ve seen in a while. So, if this sounds interesting to you at all, take a trip with Fried Barry!
Fried Barry is available to stream on AMC+ & Shudder