First time feature director, long time character actor Zack Ward’s new film Restoration is a ghost story that doesn’t really seem to know what it’s doing. It takes elements from films like The Sixth Sense, Rosemary’s Baby, and Stir of Echoes, puts them in a blender, and tries to serve us up a horror smoothie, but it ends up a little bland.
Emily O’Brien stars as Rebecca, a medical resident who has just moved to a new town with her husband Todd. The house they have bought is a bit of a fixer upper. While Rebecca is working at the hospital, Todd stays home to restore (get it, like the title?) the house. During his efforts, he finds a teddy bear with a girl’s diary stitched into it that holds clues to secrets of the previous owners. The couple soon starts having ghostly visions, which lead them to investigate what happened to the diary’s author. They are helped by their neighbors Harold (played by director Ward) and Francine, who may be holding secrets of their own.
The film is competently directed by Ward, but it is held back by some amateurish acting and effects. The script could’ve used a little work too, with the main mystery often being confusing and oddly paced. What’s worse is that one of the major twists is so telegraphed, I guessed it 45 minutes in to the 90 minute running time. The film also relies on jump scares to break the tension, most of which are punctuated by laughable CG.
Ultimately, Restoration isn’t what I was hoping for. You’ve seen this done better in countless films since The Sixth Sense made ghost story movies viable again.
My score: 5.0 out of 10.