The Covenant conjures a sleek, but quite empty picture about four handsome high school seniors who inherited supernatural powers from the ancient pact among their families. Going by the name the Sons of Ipswich, Caleb (Steven Strait), Pogue (Taylor Kitsch), Reid (Toby Hemingway), and Tyler (Chace Crawford) are the latest descendants in a long line of New England witches sworn to a centuries-old covenant of silence. They have inherited magical powers. However, there’s an unfortunate side effect. If they overuse their powers, the young sorcerers age prematurely. The more you use your power, the faster your body deteriorates.
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Action, Horror, Supernatural, and Suspense Films
The main weakness of this seemingly homoerotic teen escapism movie is that it couldn’t put a convincing spell to get rid of its mediocrity. It doesn’t completely tap into the thriller aspect. In fact, there is no reinvention of any kind. Its intriguing theme about mysticism is not well-utilized. As a guys-for-girls kind of Charmed or The Craft, this movie has not even bothered to develop a coherent story or remotely likable characters (except that the guys’ good looks and model abs are good to look at) to sustain the CGI effects, ear-splitting music, and hyperactive editing.
Convincingly, magic and the supernatural can make effective allegories in dealing with the trials and tribulations of growing up. And taking some references to using magic like taking illegal drugs, it becomes effective – supposedly. However, the movie has explored nothing beyond the surface. It has become too flat in so much aspects. The dialogues, sets, and special effects don’t get to find a good niche of its own – it’s more of an episode of a generically dull supernatural teen soap. And it is not even as entertaining as an episode of Charmed or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The Covenant is not just about addiction in the use of supernatural powers. It is also addicted to the use of fog and smoke machines to convey a mysterious, gothic mood. Visually, there is just too much of it… The shots are not that lame, but the soundtrack becomes quite annoyingly loud like thunderous swooshing noises in some scenes, too.
The hurling “magical” watery-like gelatin blob as a form of a strong magical energy thrown at each other by feuding male witches looks too funny than exciting. Moreover, there’s nothing thrilling about the big climactic showdown between Caleb and Chase (Sebastian Stan), in which they hurl the funny-looking giant bubbles of energy at each other. Though the other stunts seem good enough for the output of the effects department, the said fight scene tend to look funny with the fake-looking movements of the two throwing the energy bubbles at each other.
Not a scary scene can be seen in the movie. The story and screenplay are quite disappointing. Some of the effects like the eyes turning black, the spiders and the spider spells are quite okay. But the scary factor is totally lost the whole time.
Worse, it doesn’t give a high on the teen-witch genre it belongs. The director has probably eyed for something new and different (not the usual power show-offs through wands, voodoo dolls, crystals, stones, etc.) by making a modernized way to feature the young warlocks’ powers. However, the way it has been shown is just too lame as the characters have mainly utilized only telekinesis and some minor supernatural powers like shapeshifting and letting someone vomit in a whim (I just wonder how people knowledgeable about real “new age” stuff would react on how these teenage boys go around for some power conjuring).
With just a little more effort, The Covenant could have been a good one. Sadly, the film is not at all suspenseful or creepy or as interesting as it could have been with its theme.