It is the night of Ted Bundy’s execution, and an entrepreneurial teenager decides to make a quick buck selling Polaroids of those attending. These are the days before selfies. It seems odd to see people (many of them women) posing with big smile plastered on their faces, or wearing cardboard masks with Bundy’s face.
This is an unusual coming-of-age drama, but it still feels strangely relatable and relevant for today’s teenager. And, while the coming-of-age drama seems a little tried and tested nowadays, Fry Day feels fresh and original, full of suspense and tension.
As the protagonist, Lauryn (Jordyn DiNatale), meets up with some boys from school, tension begins to build, and you expect the worst. But, despite the film’s serial killer ties, director Laura Moss manages to avoid slipping into clichés, and gory physical violence. Moss seems to be indicating that events don’t have to be life-threatening to be profoundly life-changing. It is the littlest events which go on to have the biggest impact in our lives.
The ending left me with my heart in my mouth, on the edge of my seat. The fact that this film left me in such a way, speaks volumes to Moss’ ability to build atmosphere, and reliability with her characters, something which is profound, considering this film’s short run time.
This is a film about lingering fear, whether real or perceived. And, how one night can be the catalyst that changes how you see the world. It’s a film that conveys a distinctly female perspective. What makes this film so intriguing is the fact that Moss experienced the execution social event. When asked about how the story came about, Moss stated the following:
”I came upon this real event – the Ted Bundy BBQ that erupted across the street from the Florida State Prison where Bundy was executed in 1989. I was wowed by it. It’s a really stunning, disturbing event, and I felt like it’s the perfect backdrop to explore some of the ideas I was working on in the feature, but with completely different characters and just a chance for me to play in that world.”
Moss manages to create a completely absorbing experience, of a night you know will stick with this young girl forever. Changing her view and outlook on the world. The film is alive with the crazy real-life details of the evening, where the excitement over an execution reflecting our unhealthy obsession with serial killers and true crime.
The film is shot exceptional well by cinematographer Greta Zozula, and the super-8 footage at the start makes the film appear authentic. Despite being a short film, this has a look and presentation of a feature length film. Its clear that Moss pays close attention to detail, and her hard work can be seen clearly on the screen. This film will stay with you, a long time after watching it. Personally speaking, I’m keen to see what Moss can do next.