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Preservation - The Orchard Print E-mail
User Rating: / 1
Written by Richard Taylor   
Wednesday, 01 February 2017
Review of Preservation from The Orchard on Severed Cinema


Directed by: Christopher Denham
Written by: Christopher Denham
Produced by: Jennifer Dubin, Cora Olson
Cinematography by: Nicola Marsh
Editing by: Brendan Walsh
Music by: Samuel Jones, Alexis March
Special Effects by: John Hatch
Cast: Wrenn Schmidt, Aaron Staton, Pablo Schrediber, Cody Saintgnue, Michael Chacon, Nick Saso
Year: 2014
Country: USA
Color: Color
Language: English
Runtime: 1h 30min

Distributor: The Orchard

I have always been a fan of survivalist style horror yarns. The sub-genre always promises a good time with innocent fodder who stumble into the backwoods, only to meet their fate at the hands of a group of sinister individuals. Sometimes it’s redneck mutants, sometimes its inbred hillbillies, but overall a good time is usually to be had. In the case of Preservation, it seems as if director Christopher Denham has borrowed from a couple of genres and mixed them with decent but not entirely original, or always effective results.

In Preservation we get three individuals who venture into a closed nature preserve with expectations of hunting and camping, only to be preyed upon by a group of masked individuals who are slowly stalking and killing them. The married couple, Wit (Wrenn Schmidt) and Mike (Aaron Staton) are obviously having relationship problems as Wit's eyes can't seem to stray from Mike's brother Sean (Pablo Schreiber), who plays an embittered but somewhat stable ex-soldier. Wit is pregnant and hasn't told Mike because Mr. Yuppie is too caught up in his work, and noticeably has told Wit he has no interest in having children. All the while we are trying to figure out how stable Sean is because word is he was discharged from the army for some unknown reason. After we are introduced to our central characters, they seem willing and able enough to handle themselves in most situations as they are armed with rifles, and have been on hunting trips before (minus Wit). The viewer doesn't get much of a sense of danger from the beginning of the film except that maybe Sean is a bit loose in the head. When shit does finally go south is Sean responsible or is he just as much a victim as the others?

Preservation uses the sense of the unknown in an effective manner as we do not see who is stalking and carrying out the attacks on our three characters until they are confronted. There are some rather preposterous ideas proposed in the movie, such as our three characters going to sleep and waking up with everything around them to have seemingly disappeared with all of them marked on the forehead with X's as if branded for a hunt. Of course none of them woke up to discover this happening (they must be sound sleepers!)

The cinematography is well done and there are some nice moments of suspense. There are lots of moments of implausibility, unfortunately, and cliché driven actions which made me wonder if director Denham believed no one has ever watched this style of film before. I liked how the killers never really had much of a motive and how they are revealed, it’s really quite disturbing and works well with the times we now live in. A generation so jaded, disinterested and cold, who thrive on gratification through video game murder and a possible inclination that killing in reality could spark interest and become a hobby.

I did sit through Preservation, and surprisingly it wasn't painful. It held my interest so this is generally a criteria I first look at when watching a movie. I've heard the various comparisons to other films such as You're Next, Eden Lake and Ills (Them), and in some instances there are obvious comparisons but Preservation pulls it off well enough to sit at the table of not-quite-original but still watchable fare. There are not much over-the-top gore effects -- we get some decent special effects but nothing drastic, it’s quite reserved. Wrenn Schmidt proves to be a strong willed fighter against our murderers. The strong female presence is nothing new of course, even the Friday the 13th franchise adapted this formula for all of their entries.

Preservation is not the gory, savage and edgy backwoods horror romp you might be looking for but it is entertaining, develops the characters in a decent fashion, relies on some coincidental clichés and holds your interest throughout. It’s one of those “done it, seen it before films but we're going to do it anyway and hopefully someone will enjoy it” movies and I did.





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