Review 37: The Covenant (.5/5)

The Covenant

Directed by Renny Harlin

Starring Steven Strait, Laura Ramsey, Sebastian Stan, Taylor Kitsch, Toby Hemingway, Chace Crawford

Released on September 8, 2006

Running time 1h 37m

Rated PG-13

Genre: Thriller, Horror

Renny Harlin. Director of the infamous box office bomb Cutthroat Island. We finally meet. As to why J.S. Cardone trusted you with his story, I shall never know. I seem to remember you directing only three decent movies: Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, and The Long Kiss Goodnight. You have continued to commit cinematic crimes to this day, with the release of The Legend of Hercules, which has continued to further destroy the career of Kellan Lutz.

The backstory for The Covenant is this: in 1692, in the Massachusetts city of Ipswich, during the Salem Witch Trials, five families, Danvers, Parry, Garwin, Simms, and Putnam, formed a covenant of silence. The Putnams became obsessed with power and endangered the covenant, causing the remaining four families to banish them. The Putnams are assumed to have died out…“UNTIL NOW.” Oh, and their powers are referred to as “THE POWER”. OOOOOOOOOOOOH! The sign of one of the family members using his POWER is his eyes turning black, and then showing an orange, fiery ring spreading across the eyes. Does this look creepy? No. Not the first time, and not the tenth.

Flash forward to the future – that was a jarring transition – to 2006, the release date of The Covenant. Caleb Danvers (Steven Strait), Pogue Parry (Taylor Kitsch), Reid Garwin (Toby Hemingway), and Tyler Simms (Chace Crawford) are the descendants of the remaining four families that formed the covenant. They are sworn to silence by their families. At age thirteen, they are given “a taste” of THE POWER. When they turn eighteen, they “ascend”, meaning that they become even more powerful. This POWER is addicting; many of the family members were overcome by their continued usage of THE POWER and have slowly killed themselves. Caleb is the oldest, and that was the fate of his father. Caleb fears his ascension.

The four boys go to Spenser Academy in Ipswich. The main plot of the movie begins when the four arrive at an annual school party. Yes, the high school definition of “party”. Caleb meets a blond girl named Sarah (Laura Ramsey), and a new guy named Chase Collins (Sebastian Stan). The cops show up at the party, and all the students flee. The four evade the police by driving over a cliff and flying away.

REID: (As he drives over the cliff) Harry Potter can kiss my @$$!

Well, you wish you could kiss Harry Potter’s @$$. This breaks the unspoken rule of never referring to a better movie during your own crappy one.

Later that night, a student is found dead. This student haunts Caleb in the form of a “darkling”. What is a darkling? How is one created? Never addressed!

Over the next…day, Caleb and Sarah grow closer, and they end the day with them making out. Thank heaven it wasn’t as rushed as Romeo and Juliet.

Over the school year, supernatural occurrences happen. One particular day, during a swimming match, Caleb sees Chase’s eyes turn black, revealing that he is the long lost Putnam son. This plot twist is particularly ineffective, given that we hardly know Chase as a character.

Oh, and just after the swimming scene, Chase says this line to Pogue:

CHASE: That thing between your legs? It’s like a penis, only smaller.

Way to enforce the “subtle” homoeroticism in this movie that comes close to putting the Indian Balleilakka music video to shame. Seriously. Look it up on YouTube. Homoeroticism at an all-time high. Shudder. Catchy song, strange video.

Chase causes some spider bullhonky to happen to Sarah’s friend Kate, who happens to be Pogue’s girlfriend. Oh, and the doctor at the hospital apparently cannot tell the difference between insects and spiders. Spiders are not insects; they are arachnids. Go back to elementary school, fool.

Anyway, Caleb confronts Chase. Chase reveals that he forced his birth father to “will” his POWER to Chase, making Chase twice as powerful, considering that Chase has already “ascended”. Chase threatens to kill Sarah unless Caleb “wills” his POWER to him when he “ascends”. So, yes. Chase’s motivations can be narrowed down to one word: POWER. That’s pretty weak.

Can I just say that Sebastian Stan is the only guy in this movie who seems to be having any sort of fun being in this movie? He effectively becomes The Covenant’s equivalent of Jeremy Irons from Dungeons and Dragons.

PROFION: HA HA HA! You don’t like that, do you? Good! I can use every OUNCE of your rage! HAAAAAATATATATATATA…

Chase orders Caleb to meet him at the Putnam barn – I know, it was only ever mentioned once before – to “will” his POWER to him or Chase will kill Sarah. The confrontation between Caleb and Chase does not go well, resulting in this line.

CHASE: How about I make you my wee-otch?

I kind of suspected Chase was gay, but DAMN.

The confrontation ends when Caleb’s mother convinces Caleb’s father to “will” his POWER to Caleb, giving Caleb the power to defeat Chase and rescue Sarah. However, the next morning, GASP! Chase’s body is nowhere to be found!

Sequel bait?

Well, considering that this film scored a 3% on Rotten Tomatoes, I don’t think a sequel will be happening any time soon.

Good.

This movie played out like a desperate attempt to cash in on the Harry Potter fandom.

It has style, which amounts to pretty faces and shoddy special effects, but it has no substance, with pitiful acting, and borderline inane dialogue.

While not as bad as The Apparition or The Messengers, it still feels like a movie born to be rated R, but suffering from the constraints of a PG-13 rating. This is a movie that should have been full of witchcraft, both good and evil, violence and sex, and … less homoeroticism.

Because, unless I choose to become gay, which is highly unlikely, I doubt that I will ever be turned on by smut such as this.

Final verdict: .5 out of 5 stars.

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