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

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.
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Charlie Says (2018)

Charlie Says
Director: Mary Harron
Writer: Guinevere Turner
Based on: Ed Sanders’ book The Family, and Karlene Faith‘s book The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten
Cast: Hannah Murray, Sosie Bacon, Marianne Rendón, Merritt Wever, Matt Smith, Suki Waterhouse, Chace Crawford, Annabeth Gish, Kayli Carter, Grace Van Dien
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2019

Leslie van Houten (Hannah Murray), Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon) and Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendón) were sentenced to death for the murder of Sharon Tate (Grace Van Dien) – a murder they committed for their cult leader Charles Manson (Matt Smith) and that they have no regrets for. When their death sentence is changed to life in prison, graduate student Karlene Faith (Merritt Wever) starts to work with them. Karlene firmly believes that therapy can help rehabilitate the three women and make them understand the gravity of their crimes. Slowly they work their way through their relationship with Charlie and what they did together and for him.

Charlie Says is the perfect example of how you should make a film about a serial killer and cult leader: not by focusing on how charismatic he is, but instead focusing on the consequences of his behavior on the people around him. I was very impressed, both by the narrative and by the film itself.

The film poster showing Charles Manson (Matt Smith), three prison cells and Susan 'Sadie' Atkins (Marianne Rendón), Leslie 'Lulu' Van Houten (Hannah Murray) and Patricia 'Katie' Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon).
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Twelve (2010)

Twelve is Joel Schumacher‘s adaptation of Nick McDonell‘s novel [my review here], starring Chace Crawford, Rory Culkin, Emma Roberts, Emily Meade, Philip Ettinger, Curtis Jackson (aka 50 Cent), Ellen Barkin and Kiefer Sutherland.

Ever since his mother’s death, White Mike (Chace Crawford) and his father have had troubles. Now Mike is getting by by selling drugs, though he does stay away from the novelty drug Twelve. He rather leaves that to Lionel (Curtis Jackson) who got Mike’s Cousin Charlie (Jeremy Allen White) hooked on it.
At the same time, popular girl Sara (Esti Ginzburg) plans a birthday party at Chris’ (Rory Culkin) place, even though his slightly psycho brother Claude (Billy Magnussen) is home for an impromptu visit.

Twelve is the rare breed of film where Joel Schumacher is not the worst thing about it. In fact, the script [by Jordan Melamed] is worse than his direction – and that is a feat he deserves at least some recognition for. But not by having to watch the movie.

[SPOILERS for book and film]

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