Fried Barry at times brought to mind the murky and bonkers adventures of Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) in After Hours who is plunged into a nightmare and surreal night on the streets of New York. Like Hackett, the Fried Barry of the title is punted from bizarre situation to bizarre situation though here he’s in Cape Town, South Africa and the circumstances are very different.

Barry (Gary Green) is a hopeless heroin addict living in a dirty world of needles and spoons. His homelife is a constant barrage from his wife Suz (Chanelle de Jager) and he has doubts about the parentage of his son. It his life however much others might consider it a disaster. On his way home one night a light from the sky fixes on Barry and he is lifted into the ship. Later deposited back in Cape Town it soon becomes obvious that Barry has been possessed by an alien who is using his body for research purposes both on him and the society that he lives in.

This leads to more drugs and run-ins with prostitutes and pimps. One encounter leading to a scene that was vaguely reminiscent of the notorious Xtro scene.

There’s a determinedly grungy look about the whole film. Filmed mostly at night with a frazzled colour palette using sleazy locations that frame the people who inhabit them. It’s very unappealing which could director/writer Ryan Kruger’s intention possibly wanting to relay something about Cape Town and modern South Africa (possibly even the darker side of humanity as a whole) which I suspect is a terribly complex and contentious issue best stayed clear of here.

Having said that as social commentary or even satire it’s pretty blunt as Kruger casts the camera over the seedier side of Cape Town and its citizens. Taken however purely as a form of entertainment it doesn’t quite hit the spot either as a comedy or a horror, though there’s promising elements of both on show that bode well for the future.

Green (in his feature debut) is fine as Barry though there isn’t too much to the character and there’s not much in the end to work with in that respect. He does have a remarkable physical presence with his drawn features and goggle eyes, though his lurching from one thing to another soon becomes tiring. This is extended from the award winning 2017 short film of the same name which maybe why it does feel a bit padded at times and episodic in particular the latter stages.

Fried Barry will be available exclusively on Shudder from 7 May.