I’ll admit I had low expectations when sitting down to watch Preservation, figuring it was going to be one of those modern day horror flicks that strives to be “important” and “deep.” But one night, I found myself with nothing better to do, confronting the fact that it was the only thing that seemed remotely promising on Netflix. So, offering up a little prayer to the Gods of Horror Cinema, I fired it up and expected to be let down.
Preservation follows the story of three people – Mike (Aaron Staton), his wife Wit (Wrenn Schmidt), and Mike’s brother Sean (Pablo Schreiber) – as they venture into a closed state park for some hunting and camping. After hunting and killing a deer, the three settle in for the night. The next morning, they discover that all their stuff has been stolen during the night except for what they have on and Wit’s sleeping bags. Wit and Mike think it is a joke played on them by Sean, but as the three venture through the woods in an attempt to get back to their car, they realize they have been targeted by a hunter intent on using them as human game…
Imagine my shock when I discovered Preservation is actually a pretty solid flick with a major Jack Ketchum vibe. Okay, so the film is a remix of 1932’s The Most Dangerous Game, but the filmmakers know this and don’t try to indulge in any ego-masturbation that so often pollutes low-budget/independent flicks. Sure, the film entertains a theme of self-preservation (as illustrated by the story of Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt, told by Sean to Wit), but the film isn’t obsessed with beating the audience over the head with it and just lets the movie glide by with a fast pace. Sure, the flick has its fair share of clichés – what horror movie doesn’t these days – but they don’t detract from the film.
What is most surprising about Preservation is the characters. Each one is fleshed out and has their own personality. Unlike most horror films content to set the characters up as mere death fodder, Preservation wants you to at least care about the characters and get a sense of who they are.
Another surprise is how well Wit’s transformation from average woman to violent avenger is. Unlike other horror flicks like this where the woman is portrayed as Plain Jane and then suddenly begins kicking major ass, you get the feeling that Wit has the feelings and emotions and abilities within her already. They’re just waiting for an opportunity to come out.
Preservation sure surprised the hell outta me and I’m certain you’ll find it just as enjoyable. It’s no masterpiece by any means, but it will fill your entertainment void for about 90-minutes. The film is available on Netflix, so go check it out before they replace it with unwatchable dreck.