This one is WRONG TURN, only set in England on the banks of a dingy canal and with carnivorous mutant fish people instead of cannibalistic inbred hillbillies. Now seasoned Horror marks will know that WRONG TURN is really THE HILLS HAVE EYES, only with cannibalistic inbred hillbillies instead of cannibalistic inbred (and possibly mutated to a small degree—or to a greater degree, if we’re talking about the remake—by radioactive contamination) desert-dwellers. And they will know that THE HILLS HAVE EYES is really just THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, only with cannibalistic inbred somewhat radioactive desert-dwellers instead of cannibalistic inbred hayseeds and not taking place in Texas and not featuring chainsaws. Therefore we can accurately say that THE BARGE PEOPLE is really just THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE except set in England instead of Texas and with mutant fish people instead of inbred cannibalistic hayseeds and without chainsaws. And as is the case with all those other movies mentioned, all imitators of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, none of them, THE BARGE PEOPLE included, live up to the standard set by the original.
THE BARGE PEOPLE is as formulaic as they come. Still, if it performs a dance number we’ve all seen before—multiple times before—it performs it well, indeed. It hits all the marks. There are a couple of instances of the “people in Horror movies make stupid decisions” misstep—the Final Girl has not one but two opportunities to get her hands on an axe to use to defend herself but chooses to leave it both times—but that, too, is a part of the formula. There’s nothing new here, but it’s a fun ride.
The one area in which the movie deviates from the pattern is its ending, which is a non-ending of a sort and may put off some viewers. Normally non-endings put me off, too, but in this case I maintain that the movie *does* offer an ending, just not the one you’d expect, and I give it props for this slight novelty (although in all fairness it isn’t that novel, as THE DESCENT did it first, with its original ending, not the one they released to theaters).