This is why I don't go camping...
Let’s be honest, people have been getting terrorized at camp grounds for decades. So right off the bat, you can throw an original locale out the window. What makes Preservation special is it’s ability to instill feeling within us about the people that we are watching. It doesn’t take much creativity to turn a camp ground into a massacre with a lunatic and a bunch of sex crazed teens, but to do that with adults – that have lives that transcend this small frame of time in which we spend with them – that’s where you can strike gold… and Preservation certainly does.
We follow 3 lead characters. A pair of brothers, one of which is a true “mans man”. Complete with military discharge and insightful diatribes of war and combat. The other brother is much more of the every man. Glued to his cellphone, making conference calls, and doing everything in the world other than paying attention to his wife. She’s our third lead. She’s smart, caring, and competitive. Those three things are brought to our attention early on, and with good reason.
Production value is perfectly respectable. Not only is Preservation well shot, but it also sounds wonderful. Not only from a technical standpoint, but even when it comes to soundtrack and musical composition. Tension exists in abundance, and the sound does it’s job extremely well in these situations. The one knock I may have is that the color grading is a bit overboard in the opening sequence. That’s a very small thing, but it had me believing that I was about to view a much worse production than what I ended up getting. All in all, hats off to Christopher Denham,
The film is also well paced. Even though there are essentially only 3 characters to pay attention to, the unpredictable nature of occurrences ensures that the pace is steady. We as viewers are left on our toes, and that’s not something easily done these days. Sure, we fall into some patented genre pitfalls from time to time, but that almost has to happen at some point. The thing to focus on here is that Preservation avoided the ever present drag in these “cat and mouse” type features.
Now, if you have been a genre fan for the last several years, you’ll undoubtedly notice that we don’t see a lot of the outdoors horror/thriller combos these days. When we do though, its hard to tread new ground. One film that instantly came to mind is 2008’s Eden Lake. While I consider Eden Lake to quite possibly be the holy grail of this particular sub genre, Preservation isn’t that far behind. There is plenty of violence to be had here, but it doesn’t quite stack up to the aforementioned film in this gore hounds eyes. Its all about the character development, unpredictability, and tense themes.. and that’s perfectly fine, because Preservation does those things very well.
It’s not incredibly original, but it is good. Characters feel real and the tension is strong. Enjoy Preservation on it’s own. Try not to compare it to what came before and what will undoubtedly come after. Do that, and you’re in for a good time.