Directed by Zack Ward.
Starring Emily Roya O’Brien, Adrian Gaeta, Zack Ward, Sarah Ann Schultz and Anna Harr.
During home renovations, a young couple release a fiery spirit seeking retribution. To save themselves and set the spirit free, they must uncover the dire truth. But nothing is as simple as it seems…
You buy a new house. You’re a young couple. You’re recently married and the next step (sometimes earlier than you expect) is a little bundle of joy to appear. Maybe you got the house a little cheaper than expected. That’s lucky right? Well not in the world of film. In the world of film you’ve probably just bought yourself a house that’s haunted by a tormented spirit (more often than not a girl).
So we have the set up for Restoration. A young couple move into their new home and during renovations unearth a secret diary hidden inside a natty old teddy bear, once belonging to a young girl (missing and never found) who lived in the house years previously. As the film progresses the couple must deal with uninvited visits from their overly familial neighbours, as well as increasing cases of ghostly happenings courtesy of the spirit girl.
It all sounds familiar, but is there anything here to twist the genre? Well…yes there is. We’re not talking revolutionary or anything geniusly subversive (such as Joel Edgerton’s, The Gift) but Zack Ward who writes (along with controversial and prolific up and coming horror specialist, James Cullen Bressack), directs and acts in the film, does a good job of pulling a switch on the tracks in the final third of the film.
Visually the film is a little bit of a box ticker. It doesn’t offer anything fresh or eye-catching but it’s still efficiently made with some effective moments of tension. As a quadruple pronger (much like Edgerton with The Gift), Ward has to balance writing, directing, acting and producing. There’s a danger in cases like this of that person spreading themselves thin and not really excelling in any aspect. However Ward covers all bases effectively and in particular he delivers the best performance in the film with an air of magnetic and darkly enigmatic charisma.
The rest of the central cast are solid with Emily Roya O’Brien and Adrian Geata as the young couple. Sarah Ann Schutlz is also effective as Ward’s on screen partner.
Whilst the finales route is engaging the film lacks a bit of clarity and gets a little confused by the end. In saying that I’m not one who likes films like this bogged down in too much exposition or explanation. There’s a danger in cinema these days that producers too often assume the audience needs everything spelled out, even if it’s the same old story told time, and time again. This might be like retelling origin stories time and again (Spider-Man, Batman) with every reboot, or spending huge chunks of films explaining time travel plot-holes. Restoration could clarify certain elements that are left a little confused but at the same time the run-time is efficient and brisk. Some may be left wanting more clarity, others will go with the flow and perhaps offer their own reading of the film.
Restoration does enough of the unexpected to make this watchable and whilst it won’t go down as a genre classic or live too long in the memory, it’s an effective pulse racer.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★