Preservation (2014)

preservation02Two brothers are driving a pickup truck out to the woods.  The camera shows us a rifles, jumper cables and flares (a huge disappointment since I thought they were dynamite until they finally came into play).  They sing The Bear Went Over the Mountain.  I’m already questioning if these guys are just brothers.  Maybe the jumper cables were nipple clamps.  I don’t even want to speculate on the flares.

What the hell, there’s a girl in the backseat.  She is married to one of the men, Mike (Ken Cosgrove from Mad Men), who is inexplicably wearing a tie to go camping.  They stop at a convenience store, and while his brother Sean and wife Wit are buying supplies, he just can’t get off the phone to work.  One of the supplies is a pregnancy test. Really, she didn’t of that before they left?

The park is closed, but they go in anyway.  Mike reveals to Wit that his brother was discharged from the army for reasons unknown.  This is the standard “Veteran = PTSD psychopath” Hollywood shorthand so he will be suspect #1 in case of any shenanigans.

preservation03When Mike and Wit wake up the next morning, they are still in their sleeping bags, but the tent, all their supplies and Sean are gone.  Also, they have X’s on their foreheads. The crazy vet Sean is the immediate suspect.  His creepy ability to move stealthily, showcased earlier, further implicates him in this unlikely theft.  Then Sean appears with the same X on his forehead.  He has been surveying the area for evidence and assessing the threat level — what a maniac!

He leads the couple halfway back towards the car which he says he can hot-wire, then turns back to rescue his dog.  Mike still suspects Sean is behind this, not some group of “constitutional extremists.”  Yeah, it was prob’ly those crazy Tea Partiers.

preservation04Sean finds one of the people who killed his dog and goes all Rambo on him; if Rambo had been 5 minutes long.  After rifle butting the guy in the head several times, he turns his back on him.  He’s not a crazy vet, but he is a stupid one.

So the rest of the film is set up with beta-male Mike and wife against the bad guys. Unfortunately, Mike is no more Rambo than his brother.  While he lacks Sean’s military training, he follows exactly the same strategy — beat your opponent senseless, then turn your back when he has a weapon within reach.

preservation05So we are down to Wit.  She finally gets a good look at these killers and they are three punk kids on bicycles.  They tracked her with the GPS beacon that Mike had given her, so she tears it off.  She gets back to the truck, but the hooligans have disabled it.  Now she is in Eden Lake mode, which has a lot of potential.

Holy crap, now this is Rambo — she sews up a wound on her head.  She takes the only weapons she has, a tire iron, jumper cables, and flares and sets out in pursuit.  I really wish it had been dynamite.  While she is more badass than the men, she ends up making exactly the same mistake of turning her back on one of them while he has a weapon within reach.

Other than that one recurring bit of stupidity, it is an enjoyable ride in the survival sub-genre.  It is no Eden Lake, but that’s a pretty high bra to reach.  Er, bar — anyone who saw Eden Lake knows what I mean.


  • The other bit of stupidity is using a pair of jumper cable as a weapon in a non-electrical fashion.  C’mon, from her position even a medium sized rock would have been better.
  • They make room for one last “message” in the final scene which has a child in a shopping cart pointing a plastic toy gun at her.  But what is it?  Guns are bad?  Boys are bad?  Non-bio-degradable plastic is bad?  They got a threefer on that one.
  • While the two dudes were OK, to be honest, I just wasn’t crazy about Wit.  I did like the character, though.  And the end, after her ordeal, she looks awful.  I don’t mean beaten and black-eyed; I mean she really looks like she’s been through hell.  So kudos for that.


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