The Covenant

The success of Underworld spawned a legion of imitators.  The success of teen-oriented films in the late 90s spawned a legion of imitators.  The Covenant is a horrifically bad combination of the two, working on the premise that if each genre worked individually, combining the two would make something great.  The people behind this movie forgot one vital thing - in order for people to enjoy a movie, they need a story that is engaging and makes sense.  In the world of The Covenant, full of actors with first names like Chace, Toby, and Taylor, the firstborn male descendants of some of the families from the Salem Witch trials get supernatural powers.

The first taste of the powers comes at the age of thirteen, and full power comes when each turns eighteen, and they "ascend."  In the meantime, they walk around their exclusive private school campus as the ultimate "in" crowd.  However, continued use of the power can be addicting, and it causes premature aging.  This is why Caleb Danvers (Steven Straight, Sky High, Undiscovered), the de facto leader of the group, is wary about using them.  His friend Pogue Perry (Taylor Kitsch, Snakes on a Plane, John Tucker Must Die) feels the same way.  Draco Malfoy-lookalike Reid Garwin (Toby Hemmingway) feels differently, and the fourth descendant, Tyler Sims (Chace Crawford), doesn't really have much to do at all in the film.  Danvers' ascension is nearing, but something strange is happening.  Every time one of them uses their powers, the other can feel it.  Lately, somebody is using a lot of power, causing Danvers to wake up at night.  For the ladies out there, he sleeps shirtless with no sheet, and beads of sweat glisten off his six-pack.  For the guys, transfer student Sarah Wenham (Laura Ramsey, She's the Man, Venom) walks around in skimpy clothes, and there's a prolonged sequence in a shower.

It seems that a fifth family, once thought eradicated, still survives.  Its descendant, Chase Collins (Sebastian Stan, Red Doors) is back and is out for revenge.  His reasoning is pretty dumb, but it's consistent with most of J.S. Cardone's (The Forsaken, True Blue) screenplay.  Renny Harlin (Exorcist:  The Beginning, Mindhunters) directed.  He is extremely uneven, and this is one of his worst outings in recent years.  Everything is all over the place.  He uses a nice muted palette and many dark colors (blues and grays a la Underworld), but this is where the interesting part ends.  Strip away the special effects, and the story is actually quite dull.  Harlin and Cardone never provide adequate explanations as to why some of the characters act the way they do.  Instead, they seem focused on getting them out of their clothes as often as possible (let's swim then take a trip to the locker room!).  Straight is cute in a smoldering sort of way, and looks much better with short hair, but The Covenant needs much more than this to be worthy of somebody's attention.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 37 minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images, sexual content, partial nudity, and language.

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