The Barge People (DVD Review)

Barge People DVDA group of friends sets off for a relaxing weekend away on the canals of the glorious British countryside, unaware of the flesh-eating mutants lurking in the water…ready and waiting to feed. THE BARGE PEOPLE is “a highly entertaining and satisfyingly gory horror film” (Starburst Magazine). RLJE Films, a business unit of AMC Networks, will release the horror film THE BARGE PEOPLE on August 18, 2020 on VOD, Digital HD, DVD and Blu-ray. Written by Christopher Lombard (The Writerand directed by Charlie Steeds (Deadman Apocalypse), the film stars Kate Davies-Speak (Off Grid), Mark McKirdy (Electric Man), Makenna Guyler (King of Crime), and newcomer Matt Swales.

Barge People DVD


The Barge People is a tale of a group of friends who venture out into the canals of the countryside via a rented barge. What they do not realize is that they have now become prey to a group of flesh-eating mutants bent on their destruction. Ok, that last bit was a bit much, but let’s just say these mutants are hungry.

On the surface and just by title alone, The Barge People was aching to be one of the worst films ever made. Surprisingly, it ended up being an entertaining romp splattered with some great creature special make-up effects work. Each of the “mutants” has their own specific look. Some look like reptiles and others look like amphibious creatures.

I knew the film would be all kinds of rock n roll just from the opening credits – it had an almost VHS quality to the opening studio logo along with the pulsing synth score. I also noticed, but cannot confirm if it was intentional or not, some ADR issue in a few scenes. It reminded me of Italian movies from back in the day where they would re-record the dialogue in post-production. The Barge People has several of these scenes including one in the very beginning, so don’t fret – it may be part of the show.

The Barge People is not “Lovecraftian” by any means but may be promoted that way, which is fine. Context matters and this film is more of an environmental horror film than anything else. The gore and death scenes do stand out along with the excellent production design and cinematography.

What really seals the deal in my enjoyment of the film is that it looks to have cost next to nothing to have it made. I can just tell that most of the money was spent on the creature effects work, which is awesome. I also noticed that the end credits are short, with just a handful of people that worked on the film. You know it’s a “guerilla film” when the catering crew have a gigantic credit in the end. I love it. Most people will spend all of their lives wishing they had made a film, and the filmmakers of The Barge People just went out and did it – damn the torpedoes. I think that’s why I had a lot of fun watching the film.


Barge People DVD


Encoding: MPEG-2

Resolution: 480p (upscaled to 1080p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail: The Barge People does have elements of a “throwback” with regards to visual aesthetics, but not so much so, that it does stand on its own. Contrast and sharpness levels are fine, with hints of edge enhancement sprinkled throughout.

Depth: The scenes that really bring out the depth of the picture are those as the couples slowly sail down the river via their barge rental. It’s such an expansive view filled with awe and dread.

Black Levels: There are several scenes that place at night — some of these do suffer from light crush, but nothing too problematic.

Color Reproduction: I think the color palette benefits the most on this DVD release. Certain shots have this oil painting quality to them. Yes, even on DVD. The lush greens look especially great on this release.

Flesh Tones: Everyone looks nice and healthy until they are not.

Noise/Artifacts: The film was absent any intrusive noise/artifacts, with exception to those inherent from the DVD source.


Barge People DVD


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: The Barge People is presented in standard Dolby Digital 5.1. For a film like this, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is fine. It’s an aggressive soundtrack, but works, considering the subject matter. There are plenty of gruesome and juicy kills.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE subwoofer gives the horror film some added low-end bass, with exceptional results. The LFE channel was free of distortion and unpleasant rattle.

Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound channels picked up on a lot of environmental noise, like wildlife, things creeping about in the background, and even some of the weapons used – like the chains and hooks swirled in the background and overhead.

Dialogue Reproduction: The dialogue levels were clear outside of a few harsh accents here and there.


Barge People DVD


There are no extras on this DVD.


Barge People DVD


The Barge People was a lot fun and a bit of a throwback to the slasher genre, except that you have mutants out to kill you instead of a traditional masked madman. The video looked average at best (it is DVD after all) and the sound was above average. Again, no special features on this release, which is a bummer. The Barge People is super short at 83 minutes, but makes for a pleasant time waster. Recommended.



The images used above within the review are not actual DVD screenshots. They are for illustrative purposes only.



The Barge People is released August 18, 2020

on DVD & Blu-ray!




Barge People DVD


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

  1. No Comments