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THE RESTORER
By Laurel Pardo

GENRE: Drama, Horror, Thriller
LOGLINE:
A cemetery restorer learns he can interact with the dead and help trapped souls move on, an ability that also attracts demonic entities that wish to use him to cross over to the world of the living.

SYNOPSIS:

In the small historic town of Maplewood, Pennsylvania ELI TOLER is known as the cemetery guy. He spends his days restoring the local cemeteries that he’s had a fascination with for as long as he can remember. A fascination that he chalks up to his mother ignoring then abandoning him, and his father having abused him to the point of killing him when he was 6. The dead can’t hurt you, or leave you. At least that’s what Eli thinks. Raised by LOUISE, his mother’s best friend and the town historian, he believes in the shapes and shadows that flicker just out of view. He thinks he understands that there are spiritual beings that exist on another plane, visible to us only when they allow it. For her part, Louise has always had a soft spot for Eli. It was she who revived him when his father, JOSHUA, drowned him, then took him in when his mother, RENEE, moved to Salem, Massachusetts, leaving her 13 year old son behind. Herself a native of Salem, Louise also nurtured in him his beliefs in spirit energy. Especially after, when at a very young age, he confided in her that his imaginary friends were real ­ and dead. These friends seemed to have faded away after his death but she has waited for them to return and hoped that he would be ready to help them gain the release that she knew they desperately needed. When Eli lost his wife and two young sons in a car accident he did not realize that by holding onto his grief he was also trapping them. All of the negative aspects of his past come rolling back in at once when he is forced to understand that he has not only trapped them but has put their souls in harms way. Renee also starts calling, after 17 years of silence, to try to start a relationship with Eli now that his father is dying. He wishes Renee, who he sees as an annoying airhead and a flake, and Joshua would both go away and let him concentrate on helping his sons. In the process of trying to sort out what needs to be done to free his boys Eli is forced to contact Renee as a source of information about witchcraft. Annoyed that she is uncannily knowledgeable on the subject, he reluctantly puts her advice to use and is able to release his sons, as well as 5 others, from a curse. Done and now ready to move on with his life, Eli is not happy when Louise reminds him of his imaginary friends and points out that there will be more, many more, who will seek his help. When Eli is hired to move a cemetery for an abandoned orphanage the spirit of a young girl named DARCY latches onto him. Even as he moves on to other jobs that bring up other spirits in need, she tags along, helping as she can by giving him perspective from the spiritual side and teaching him to be patient, something he readily admits he’s no good at. To his surprise she reminds him that she was one of his imaginary friends, one that would take him to a safe place whenever Joshua became too violent. He’s surprised still further when he later learns of a stronger connection to her. Joshua is thrilled that Eli is seeing the spirits again. Always an evil person, he has dabbled in dark things best left alone and has made deals for what will happen to his soul when he dies. Locked up for nearly 30 years for killing Eli, Joshua’s death will free him and put him in control of the Shadowlands, a dark place filled with darker creatures that would love to get hold of someone like Eli. It’s not until one of these creatures attempts to take Eli to the Shadowlands that anyone fully realizes what he is. A Native American shaman refers to him as a spirit walker ­ able to move spiritually and physically between the worlds of the living, the dead and the damned. He explains to Eli that he must have a spiritual guide to help protect him from the evil entities that want to use him, or just his spiritual energy should he happen to die, to move between the worlds. Told that it should be a witch who teaches him, Eli is less than thrilled when Renee informs him that she is a practicing descendant of the true witches of Salem ­and therefore the only one he knows who can help him. Louise, in the meantime, is trying to push Eli to have a social life, even if it means dating the girl that he refers to as “the stalker”, and accept the fact that Renee is really looking out for his best interests despite what he thinks is just an excuse to torment him. He would be perfectly happy if it were just the spirits seeking his help, or Renee would go back to Salem and leave him the hell alone. Eli’s seemingly simple, if morbid, infatuation with cemeteries comes from an ability he is only now beginning to recognize and understand. A rare ability to not only help lost souls move on but to try to keep the spiritual balance of things in check. He has to set aside his own prejudices against those who have wronged him in order to make sure the positive energies can either maintain the natural balance or tip the scales in favor of the living.

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