We’ve all seen Preservation before: a group of city slickers stray into the woods on a hunting trip and become prey themselves. However, unlike other modern survival horror films, the victims here have cell reception in the middle of the woods; but much to their dismay it gets them into more harm than safety. But despite the inclusion of working technology in rural woodland, Preservation is the formulaic thriller we’ve seen before. It’s Eden Lake (2009) minus the brutality; but it still provides some solid entertainment.
A husband and wife – and the husbands brother – venture into the woods for a hunting vacation to escape their troubled home lives. Little do they know that they are about to encounter something more sinister than the upheavals of the mundane.
Survival horror films are often entertaining, but the truly great ones make us sympathise with the characters; the problem with Preservation is that the main characters enjoy killing animals for sport; therefore it’s difficult to emotionally engage with their struggle. Personally, I couldn’t wait to see them get a taste of their own medicine; but the villains weren’t cracked up to much either. There were no noteworthy characters from either side, and while the killers could have been interesting because they were teens, the end product was a tame affair.
Despite personal disengagement to the characters and lack of edge, Preservation didn’t bore me in the slightest; it was steadily paced, never boring and the scenery made for some nice viewing. The actors were all good even if their characters were impossible to root for.
There’s not a lot to be said about this one: it’s a well made, passable backwoods thriller that could have been so much more if it had some edge. While being entertaining, it didn’t deliver the goods in terms of pay-offs, but the chase was quite fun nonetheless. If Eden Lake is a lion, Preservation is the cub; but instead of raising the cub to be king of the jungle like it’s paw, it’s main purpose is to tag along with the tribe hunting antelopes that won’t fight back. 6/10
Written & Directed By:
Wrenn Schmidt, Pablo Shreiber, Aaron Staton