Directed by: #RyanKruger
A bizarre but well-realised dive into drug addled psychosis, Fried Barry allegedly follows the journey of an alien possessing a heroin addict on a joy ride through Cape Town. I say allegedly as you wouldn’t have the faintest clue that this was the plot from watching the short.
Fried Barry acts more as a frantic and exhausting, almost vicarious viewing of a terrifying substance trip, which is certainly no bad thing as this scene is shot with graphic intensity.
From the tight camera work to the brilliantly unsettling score, all of the elements synergise. Director Ryan Kruger brings it all together with a grisly style and focus that will keep you on the edge of the seat, disturbed yet questioning of what you saw.
Free of the burden of dialogue, the pressure is on sole actor Gary Green to deliver, and deliver he does. From manic movements assisted by some snappy effects in post, to horrendous, other-worldly facial expressions, Green gives a purely physical performance that while frightening, also hints at a vulnerability. Regardless of the stellar cinematography and editing, the short would fall flat if his performance was hammy or wooden, but he thankfully brings a hideously realistic portrayal that is appropriately cringe inducing.
Kruger shoots the scene frantically, evoking unease and a sense of dread through a high level of professional care. The editing, lighting, and cinematography work in tandem with Green’s performance as well as the unsettling score to deliver an unnatural, high octane scene, veering into the realms of surrealism. Short, sharp cuts in the editing make for a quick pace that piles on intensity without stopping for breath, culminating in a vomit filled finale. These cuts combine with a healthy use of slow motion and speed up effects that benefit the narrative, aren’t used as a pointless gimmick as some action scenes in the blockbuster world tend to use them.
Fried Barry is no blockbuster, and certainly no action film. The film aims to disgust through and through, from the body-horror effects of the latter half, to the psychological torture of the horrific imagery towards the finale. The use of chiaroscuro lighting and a bleak colour palette keep the grim tone consistent and help emphasise Barry’s agony. The sound design is filled with spine tingling noises that could be sampled from another world. As our protagonist writhes on the floor, alien shrieks and loud, jarring sounds assault the ears to an effective end. Regrettably, where the film is let down is through unpolished visual effects. As Barry’s eyes expend and his forehead grows, he looks more as if he’s messing about with a webcam filter, rather than having his body expanded by an intergalactic intruder.
Overall, Kruger’s horror short is well devised. The narrative is basic and the effects don’t completely hit the mark, but Fried Barry leaves you wanting more. It’s a tad too short and lacking in plot to be five-star quality, but the prospect of an imminent transformation from short to feature is both exciting and intriguing. It’s interesting to wonder where Kruger will take this concept as he extends a quick transformation scene into a full story. As is, if you’re a horror fan, you’ll enjoy Fried Barry. Equally, for an example of lighting, editing, camera work, and sound design working collaboratively to create a visually fantastic piece of film, it’s recommended for any cinephile.
Watch Fried Barry on the UK Film Channel now!