May 03, 2016 Directed by Zack Ward. With Emily O'Brien, Adrian Gaeta, Zack Ward, Sarah Ann Schultz. 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.
As one of the first reviewers, I think it is incumbent upon me to mention I am not in any way connected to the movie. This review is completely independent. I am not in the movie industry or anything of the sort. I was lucky enough to see the movie as it was suggested to me among a long list of titles, and I am very glad I did.
Zack Ward, who you may recognize from Transformers, Resident Evil or A Christmas Story, takes his first shot at directing in this film. Along with his cohort and horror genera regular James Cullen Bressack, Zack Ward produces and takes on a major role in the film. Ward does a superb job figuring out a balance of what is needed to make a good movie on a budget. He doesn't over-do-it with cheap thrills, gallons of corn syrup blood, or anything of the sort. He allows the story to take shape naturally without forcing us immediately to conclusions.
Our story follows Todd Jordon, played by a surprise sleeper hit, Adrian Gaeta and his wife, Rebecca played by the ever talented Emily Roya O'Brien. The couple moves in to a new house and is greeted by two friendly neighbors, Harold (Zack Ward) and Francine (Sarah Ann Schultz. The couples become fast friends.
During renovations of the home, Todd and Rebecca come across a teddy bear concealed in a wall. The seeming innocuous item is actually home to a child's diary. As the story unfolds, we find that the diary belongs to little Katherine Vanderhurst. She had obviously lived in the house before, and without giving away too much, had been witness to some pretty horrible things that people do to each other, both emotionally and physically.
As the movie rolls on, we learn more and more about Katie and more about what happened to her. I appreciated the voice-over by Anna Harr. She was superb. She played the voice inside my head to perfection. Harr delivers enough for me to understand her child- like demeanor and lens on the world; but also enough to be creeped out about the whole thing all with her voice. The combination of well written lines and her delivery sealed it for me.
Sooner than anticipated we get into the meat and potatoes of the movie. The couple must unravel the mystery around Katie, and without giving away too much, their neighbors are there to help them do it (more or less.
Adrian Gaeta pulls off an excellent "guy next door. He seems like a totally normal dude, and we can all understand where he is coming from throughout the movie. I was very pleased with his performance and I bought into the writing of his character and his portrayal.
Emily Roya O'Brien does a great job with her character Rebecca, however I found her almost too good looking and too successful for the guy Adrian plays. Not because Adrian isn't a good looking guy with his chiseled features and what not, but because Ward writes the character in such a way as to be believable and you are left thinking that this guy is swinging way above his weight class with a wife like Rebecca. This is not accidental, and it plays into the movie perfectly. It is this kind of subtlety that I did not expect from a first timer like Zack Ward.
Ward plays his role well as he always does, although whoever did wardrobe and put him in a Ben Hogan hat (or whatever it is called) should have their head examined. It is not cool, not geek chic, it is I don't know what, but it doesn't work for the character. You should be ashamed! end rant) After getting over the choice of head apparel/accessories I could see myself liking a neighbor like ole Harold, and I quite frankly hate most of my neighbors, although if he came over for a BBQ I would ask him to change his hat (ok rant REALLY over this time.
Overall, I got a movie that had some unexpected depth and layering, that didn't go straight for cheap thrill or try to over-think itself and trick me like some M. Night whoever movie. Ward and company kept it simple and it was a straight forward thriller. I would have liked a bit more character development but at the end of day, these movies are limited to ~90 minutes, so you can't get too deep. I think there was a lot more to the characters than could be crammed in to the time allotted.
Restoration is exactly what I look for in an indie horror thriller and I would recommend it.
P.S. You do get to see Ward and Gaeta pull off a pretty cool fight scene that I didn't expect to be so well choreographed. Turns out Ward is a bit of a bad ass, except for the hat.
. My rating system. br> I rate Independent flicks against independent flicks, and I rate big Hollywood against big Hollywood. It is not fair to take a movie that cost tens of thousands of dollars or less and compare it to a movie that costs 7 or 8 figures (Maybe 9! With unlimited retakes, huge production crews, massive marketing budgets, teams of professional writers/re-writers etc I expect more out of big Hollywood movie. I try to rate equally on story.
I like to take the time to write reviews about smaller independent movies rather than movies that have 1000s of reviews as I hope some one takes what I write seriously rather than getting lost in a cacophony of similar voices.
Watch Restoration, Prime Video. Restoration 2016 Trailer. Feb 02, 1996 Directed by Michael Hoffman. With Robert Downey Jr., Sam Neill, David Thewlis, Polly Walker. The exiled royal physician to King Charles II devotes himself to helping Londoners suffering from the plague, and in the process falls in love with an equally poor woman. Restoration (Trailer. Dec 19, 2011 THIS IS FAIR USE OF THE MOVIE FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND NOT FOR PROFIT. Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration FULL MOVIE (2005) David Lory VanDerBeek. Want to watch.