The Barge People
Directed by: Charlie Steeds
Run time: 78 minutes
The Lowdown: Sometimes you hear about an upcoming movie and you can’t help but get excited.
Such was the case with The Barge People, the new creature feature from director Charlie Steeds.
Based on the synopsis I read, The Barge People seemed to be an interesting variation on the kind of Lovecraftian creatures not seen on screen since Stuart Gordon’s 2001 schlocker, Dagon.
Well, let me just say if my taste wasn’t in my mouth, I might slap it.
The Barge People is NOT Lovecraftian, not in the least. Hell, I’m not sure if the actual mutants in the movie would even rank above the C.H.U.D. that terrorized John Heard way back in 1984.
However, that doesn’t mean The Barge People isn’t without its merits, although what I’m referring to is likely not what Steeds envisioned.
First, the basics: Two couples decide to vacation in the rural English countryside by renting a barge to travel along the country’s famous canals.
The main guy and his lady are lad back. Her sister is nice too, but the douchebag that sister is dating makes Patrick Bateman seem like the kind of guy you might ring up to hang out and listen to some Huey Lewis together.
They begin their journey, stopping not long after to rest and fish. Steeds films some ducks swimming. A nerdy water quality scientist tells the gang to throw down their poles. There’s a new form of algae in the canal that’s killing all aquatic life. You see some more ducks swimming.
Douchebag takes the wheel of the barge for a bit and successfully hits another barge that’s not even moving. This happens, if for no other reason than, to provide an immediate antagonist as the “common folk” who live on the barge that’s struck are basically in a floating trailer.
And, of course, the white-trash bargers frequent the middle-of-nowhere pub in the woods that the foursome pick to go get drinks and food their first night.
Before long, though, those people are the least of the foursome’s worries.
Once the creatures appear, shite gets crazy quickly. Leeds and his first-time feature film screenwriter don’t offer any rules of engagement for their amphibious nasties. The creatures don’t bleed blood, for example. Don’t ask why. If that was explained, I missed it.
The Barge People doesn’t shy away from carnage. There’s lots of it. But the practical special effects are basically Face/Off quality head and shoulder applications, meaning you’re keenly aware that you’re watching people inside of suits pretending to be mutant canal creatures.
If for nothing else, The Barge People qualifies as goofy, time-killing entertainment. It’s not great, but if you’ve ever wondered what Wrong Turn 9: River Billies might look like, here’s your chance.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – No.
Gore – Yes.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – Fresh water mutants.
Buy/Rent – Rent it.
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