Often a filmmaker will put a scene into their movies to reference or even play homage to a classic horror film, such as in Lost After Dark [2015] did a scene in ode to Zombie [1979]; well director Charlie Steeds does the similar thing, except his entire movie becomes a love letter to those movies that inspired him. Many recall his flick Escape From Cannibal Farm [2017] as a modern version of Texas Chain Saw Massacre [1974], this time his long awaited send up to The Hills Have Eyes [1977] meets Island of the Fishmen [1979], with The Barge People, and joining on the trip is writer Christopher Lombard.

Anyone in the mood for seafood gumbo, always a little curious what scraps poured into the boiling 5-quart pot well this movie will feed your needs, especially if you wondered what the Creature from the Black Lagoon [1954] successfully bred with Kay (Julie Adams) and though the off-spring might make an outcast from the Wrong Turn bunch. It’s a simple straightforward storyline, therefore I will avoid telling some key elements, in fact merely skim over the plot, because this is tale fits that fans will crave – a creature feature. Well it started with an ominous warning about a series of killings and missing individuals mixed with an urban legend, that that leads the viewer into the main story which picks up with sisters Kat (Kate Davies-Speak (Winterskin [2018])) and Sophie (Natalie Martins (Cruel Summer [2016])) for a relaxing weekend. They’re not traveling alone, rather their boyfriends Mark and businessman/yuppie Ben (Mark McKirdy and Matt Swales, respectively) are joining them for cruise on a barge through the British countryside canals; although quickly understood a few stereotypical aspects quickly become apparent. It’s obvious that two separate points that everyone knows who the final girl will be early on, Kate who has starred in many of Steeds’ productions and Ben who is the focus for causing problems, his actions and style of dress make it very clear his position in movie. After the initial incident with locals; quick tempered (Kane Surry) and his counterpart Jade (Makenna Guyler), bring them to rage against Kat and her gang in a brutal fight, that later pits them against the mutants. I know it does sound like I gave a really brief summary of the film, plenty of background but not much more, simply anymore and I give it all away.

As many other directors have become successful Charlie also surrounded himself with others in skilled positions such as cinematographer Michael Lloyd (The House of Violent Desire [2018]) who actually has done 6-pictures; therefore he knew exactly what he wanted and needed on his tight budget. As for the, score very reimbursement of the 80s scores with hints of synth, all thanks to Sam Benjafield, who too worked on 6-films of Steeds. The use of practical effects gives more impact of the brutal killing and allows one to understand the country mutants of England are as effective and lethal as their counterparts in America. All in all, the crew made and effective movie, and they were careful with the ultra-low funding, and allowed the actors the freedom to project the fear and story forward with sheer pleasure for viewers.

It’s been awhile since horror fans had more fiendish fishmen mutants, in recent times the world under the calm seas slowly explored with the Lovecraft themed film Underwater [2020] its only proper to have a human form lurking by the river and canal waterways. It’s great to have a beast using modern devices to hook their victims, whether merely casting the right bait or needing to stalk and gut their catch it leads to an interesting reveal at the end. As for buying the actual movie, its available on DVD with an emboss slipcover but without any extras and on various VOD platforms.


  • No one escapes


IMDb rating: 4.1/10

Baron’s Rating: 4.0/10