Inside you’ll find our DVD review for Renny Harlin’s The Covenant, which hits retailers next Tuesday, January 2nd. Four young men who belong to a supernatural legacy are charged with stopping the evil force they released into the world years earlier. Another great force they must contend with is the jealousy and suspicion that threatens to tear them apart. Read on for the review and pick up the DVD here. The film stars Steven Strait, Sebastian Stan, Laura Ramsey, Taylor Kitsch, Toby Hemingway, Jessica Lucas, Chace Crawford and Wendy Crewson.
The Covenant (DVD)
Reviewed By: Tex Massacre
2/10 or 1 Skull
I know what you’re thinking…THE CRAFT with Gap models…right? We’ll what do you want from a pair of trash filmmakers like Renny Harlin (EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING) and J.S. Cardone (THE FORSAKEN). This is zero-calorie-Friday-night-filler. Of course it’s garbage—but so is Taco Bell and that doesn’t stop me from hitting up the value menu at 3AM. If you expected a seven course meal and all you got was a shake, you’d be the fool now wouldn’t you. Measured expectations are often what make or break a film—if you expect nothing how can you be disappointed. This rational is what gets Ashton Kutcher films greenlit. It’s also the only way to survive THE COVENANT.
It’s a new prep school nightmare, where all the kids look like cast offs from MAKING THE BAND: PART 10. It also stretches even the most liberal of imaginations to fathom these walking mannequins as actual high school students. Every one of the cast looks like they’ve been chiseled out of stone or stripped off the pages of Vogue for their 15-minutes of celluloid fame.
The story revolves around a group known as the Sons of Ipswitch, which in all its Lovecraftian derivation is exactly what it sounds like. These boys are witches, although they don’t refer to themselves as such—the filmmakers in more testosterone laden attempts refer to them as Warlocks. I think this group of guys is so “pretty” they could be the freaking Witches of Eastwick, or at least second cousin to that Sandra Bullock/Nicole Kidman flick a few years back.
The Sons of Ipswitch are the latest in the descending bloodline that founded the town in the 1600’s. As each boy ages their power steadily increases, until—on their 18th birthday—they “ascend”. Meaning they reach full maturity—the sexual allegory here is ridiculous. Once the boys have become men, the enormity of their power comes with a price—abuse of the power leads to addiction and possibly death. The drug allegory here is also ridiculous.
In a turn of events that, frankly I didn’t see coming—of course I never saw a trailer, nor did I read any background on this film before I plunked it into the DVD player (see what I mean about measured expectations)—A new kid has come to the school and is slowly horning his way into the “Sons” lives. It seems that the “new blood” is really “old blood” come to take back a birthright that was lost long ago.
Based on innumerable circumstances, you’ve already decided long before this film was even in theaters whether or not you wanted to see it. I’m not gonna change your mind now. Perhaps you looked at the star count I gave—just a few 100 words above this very sentence. Regardless, most of us made up our minds as our gaze passed over the gaggle of WB boys staring at us with their blank expressions from the poster art. So as to the success or failure of THE COVENANT I can only say this—you get out of a film what you put into it. In the case of this vapid piece, I put in nothing.
The DVD edition of the film adds in a making of segment, where the laughable “Warlocks” dialogue is uttered. It’s got the requisite talking heads, each more annoying than the next, and each with disillusions of grandeur about the serious nature of the film that they’re undertaking. It showcases Harlin having a blast on the wire rig as crewmembers spin him silly—it’s good to know that Renny had fun making the film—at least that’s something.
Harlin also contributes to an audio commentary that frankly I couldn’t bring myself to listen to after the lovefest that was the making of featurette. You intrepid aficionados have my blessing to give it a shot—If Harlin gives any great insight into how anyone in their right mind thought this script was worth a couple million dollars of production funds, let me know—I’ll pretend to care when you tell me—the truth is after DEEP BLUE SEA and MINDHUNTERS, I’ve long since stopped worrying about the rationality behind a Renny Harlin film.