The Covenant (2006)

The Covenant
Director: Renny Harlin
Writer: J.S. Cardone
Cast: Steven Strait, Laura Ramsey, Sebastian Stan, Taylor Kitsch, Chace Crawford, Toby Hemingway, Jessica Lucas, Kyle Schmid, Wendy Crewson, Stephen McHattie
Seen on: 14.5.2021

Plot:
Caleb (Steven Strait), Pogue (Taylor Kitsch), Tyler (Chase Crawford) and Reid (Toby Hemingway) are known as the Sons of Ipswich, direct descendants of the witches persecuted in Salem. What the people around them don’t know is that they actually do have magic powers. A new year at their school brings the promise to come into their full powers when they turn 18, and it also brings new people – like Sarah (Laura Ramsey), who Caleb feels immediately drawn to, and Chase (Sebastian Stan) who may be more than it seems at first.

I had heard of The Covenant mostly from people who like Sebastian Stan a lot and I got the distinct impression that this film was pretty good. Well, reader, it was not, on really any level.

The film poster showing the Sons of Ipswich - Caleb (Steven Strait), Pogue (Taylor Kitsch), Tyler (Chase Crawford) and Reid (Toby Hemingway) - standing at the edge of a cliff, looking down. Below them is another image of Caleb and Chase (Sebastian Stan) in a magic battle.

Maybe The Covenant is a nostalgia film that works if you grew up with it. I can see how it might appeal to tweens who will be excited about seeing some well-built guys in swimming trunks and at the taste of horror the film gives us. But as an adult, even as an adult who likes young adult stuff for the most part, this film was way too ridiculous to work.

Or, it wasn’t just that it was ridiculous, it was just really, really bad. I kept thinking that it was made in the 90s because that’s how the special effects looked. The world-building is muddled. The dialogues were atrocious and the acting worse (proof that Sebastian Stan certainly grew as an actor). It is even bad on a very basic level: I never got any decent sense of time passing or distances crossed.

Caleb (Steven Strait) talking on his phone at the steering wheel of his car, drenched in sweat.

And that’s not even taking into account that it feels already very weird that magic is a thing entirely for men in this world, especially since they openly refer to the Salem witch trials where so many more women were killed. Plus, witchcraft has generally been intertwined with misogyny, and that’s just not acknowledged here at all.

I finished the film, though I probably shouldn’t have. There are certainly no surprises coming at the end that make the film worth finishing. In fact, I’d say it’s not even worth starting.

Sarah (Laura Ramsey) telling Kate (Jessica Lucas) about her research on the Sons of Ipswich.

Summarizing: don’t waste your time on it.

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