Boo. I'm sorry, did I scare you? No? Let me try again. Boo. Scared yet?
What's that? You think this the least scary attempt at making you afraid you have ever seen? Heh, wait till you see The Covenant.
The Covenant is the newest addition to the breed of teen horror drama to which Buffy belonged, and so far remains the dullest tool in the shed. First off, the horror bit is a joke, as this film does not scare, thrill, move or even remotely bother you in the least. Second, it does not have even a half-decent plot with believable characters or any of the requisites in making a teen drama. Last, but oh, certainly not the least, it's not Buffy because it's not on TV.
By which I of course mean that the production values and overall tone is very low-budget-TV-show like. But by that I also mean that you can't bloody turn it off. It's not that it's simply too terrible. It's just that you expect a film to have a certain common decency in terms of storytelling, and The Covenant doesn't have any.
In a New England school called Spencer Academy, there are four friends, "The Sons of Ipswich", who are descended from families who established Ipswich as a town. Because of some mumbo-jumbo beginnings of the families, the boys have supernatural powers, and like to use them once in a while for a kick. They call themselves The Covenant. You see, the boys are male witches, and are extremely powerful.
Caleb (Steven Strait) will inherit even more powerful versions of his abilities (which already include levitating and implosions) on his coming 18th birthday, but he broods as he knows that using his powers will make him age prematurely. As he hangs out with friends Pogue, Reid and Tyler (Taylor, Toby and Chace) in Spencer, they realize there are sinister goings-on in the place.
To add to the spooky milieu is mysterious Chase (Sebastian Stan), who befriends Caleb easily and appears to be only too eager to please the guys. As specters and eerie things start appearing and a fellow student dies, the boys must try and sort the mystery out before something happens to them that threatens to take away their powers.
There are some random love interests thrown in for Caleb and Pogue, mostly to add to the teen theme, but also to bum its age rating up by showing off some skin. The girls are a part of the plot, but act as if they could have been replaced by anyone, and the film wouldn't have suffered for it.
As interesting as it seems when you hear the story, the truth is that the film fails in its execution so miserably that even a half-interesting Dreamcatcher-inspired story seems winding, confused and lost. After a somewhat interesting first act where they set the story up, the makers show no interest in trying to entertain you, instead concentrating on showcasing the boys as models for underwear and clothes, or showing an unbelievable school where there are rarely any classes anyway, as a haven for girls taking baths, co-ed dorms and creepy spiders.
The special effects are of good quality, which lends the action bits some credibility, but the overall feel remains that of a made-for-TV movie. The actors are wooden and largely uninspiring, falling back on stock faces for stock emotions. The dialog is genuinely terrible, and even the attempts at humor fall flat. It's an interesting concept gone waste with bad actors, a low budget, and unremarkable storytelling.
This is a silly film, which thankfully at least does not take itself seriously. But that certainly does not excuse the makers from trying to make a film out of an episode of Charmed. There's a moment where one of the boys remarks, "Harry Potter can kiss my..." Problem is, with the production finesse seen in the Potter franchise (if nothing else), Harry Potter can kick his derriere. Easy.
We strongly suggest giving this one a miss, and waiting for the better English releases coming up. However, if you truly need to feel scared, please let me try once again. Booo.