Director : Laura Moss
The threat of the bogeyman leers over us from childhood. He’s the faceless canvas on which our parents project their most primal fears and on which we begin to paint ours. As we get older, he shapeshifts, no longer materialising as the monster hiding under the bed, or the stranger outside the school gates. Instead, he comes to embody our everyday anxieties. Every so often he’s made manifest in our news cycles and shared consciousness, with a name and a face. In 1976, he was Ted Bundy on whose execution night, Fry Day is set. In Laura Moss’ fictional tale we’re taken back in time to that night in Florida where crowds gather outside the prison with beer and placards and ‘burn Bundy’ t-shirts - a uniquely American fete. We follow Lauren, a sixteen-year-old amateur photographer who pushes aside her distaste for this circus to take $2 pictures of its macabre congregation. When she runs into classmate Keith, Lauren is persuaded to take a ride with him and his friends, leading her night down an unpleasant and undoubtedly defining path. To say any more would be a disservice to Moss and her co-writer Brendan O’Brien, who have crafted a film that is both unique and hugely significant. Bundy is never the focus here, he just casts a foreboding shadow over events, his face creepily appearing in the form of a mask hanging around Lauren’s neck - a horrifying reminder of the threat posed. He was a monster in man’s clothing and here lies the true impact of the film. That for every monster, there are others, employing a very similar disguise to commit less violent but nonetheless scarring transgressions against women. We have seen this camouflage disintegrate exposing monsters in every part of our society, from the highest courts and offices. Monsters veiled by titles and suits made manifest once again in our news cycles. Fry Day is not only timely but necessary, an identifiable tale that couldn’t have been told better.