The Covenant Review

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[The Covenant]
Plot:Four young men who belong to a supernatural legacy are charged with stopping the evil force they released into the world years earlier. Another great force they must contend with is the jealousy and suspicion that threatens to tear them apart.

Cast: Steven Strait, Sebastian Stan, Laura Ramsey, Taylor Kitsch, Toby Hemingway, Jessica Lucas, Chace Crawford, Wendy Crewson, Stephen McHattie.

My Thoughts:Better than "The Craft"

Review:Alot of people have compared this movie with "The Craft" and have said it's a male version of that film. "The Craft", while a good movie in some ways, was ultimately boring in many ways as well. "The Covenant" knows how to surround a decent story with the right set pieces and atmosphere to make the film an enjoyable viewing experience. The story begins with 4 members of a secret bond called "The Covenant". Caleb, Tyler, Pogue, and Reid all posess special powers and abilities passed down to them through generations. However, with these powers come a price and a responsibility. Which is what keeps this movie grounded and from getting too out of control and cartoonish. I'm sure some writers and directors with an idea like this would want to crank things up to optimal levels and have all sorts of cosmic battles and destruction at every turn. Director Renny Harlin and writers J.S. Cardone avoid that temptation and have the film play out in a more dramatic and believeable way. The four covenant members are for the most part nice guys, but are kept in check most of the time by Caleb (Steven Strait), who's the more mature of the group. He makes sure they along with himself don't overuse their powers..because should they do so it takes many years off of their lives. This is further emphasized in a scene much later where we meet Caleb's father who overused his abilities and has pretty much become an invalid. Cardone sprinkles this constant reminder all over the films script, with dialogue which speaks about the consequences of the 4 overusing their abilities and how seductive the power itself can be. This gives the characters some depth and makes the film rise above being anything other than a cheap 90 minute thrill filled with special FX and no real story. Laura Ramsey (Venom) and Jessica Lucas play the films leading ladies. Ramsey as Sarah immediately takes to Caleb when he and the others hit a nearby party...while Kate is already wrapped up with Pogue. Harlin makes sure to get the films story moving in the right direction early on which is a pleasure because by the way it starts off..if it had spent too much time having the four covenant members using their powers for personal gain and viewer amusement it could've really went downhill fast. When the corpses of a partier who attended the same school as the four covenant members turns up, and two of them begin being haunted by creatures called "darklings", it soon becomes apparent that someone has it in for them. The film then spends the rest of it's duration answering the usuals...who, and why? Of course the one problem with all of this is that the previews make it obvious as to who it is early on..and the film, lacking any real major players after the four covenant kids, and the two ladies doesn't do such an excellent job of hiding the villain either. Once you get past the new kid at school and Caleb's alcoholic mom, there really aren't anymore red herrings to deal with. "The Covenant" doesn't use much special FX which may surprise many people seeing as how this is a movie about kids with supernatural abilities. That is a plus in my book. The film only uses visual FX when necessary and doesn't really overuse them for the sake of garnering cheap *oooh's and ahh's* from the audience. Sebastian Stan plays the films villain who eventually reveals himself and in one very dramatic scene makes it known that he is after their powers and is hellbent on getting them one way or another. The problem with Stan's character is that the film maybe for time purposes or just not wanting to slow the story down anymore than necessary, doesn't really explain much about his background. Which kind of sucks since he's quite an impressive villain and formidable foe for the four heros of the movie. All we get is he's pissed, stronger than the four covenant members, arrogant, and wasted his adoptive parents many years ago. He does bear a connection to the four but it really isn't explored too deeply beyond some quick dialogue. Stan's character is specifically after Caleb who is supposed to gain an extra boost of power on the night of his birthday...which is where the film sets up for the final battle between good and evil. The final fight between Caleb and Stan's character is a very intense 10 to 15 minute visual feast with the upperhand wobbling back and forth between the two during the battle. Best of all, there's very little cheesey one-liners during the climax which usually spoil on-screen moments like that. "The Covenant" is a pleasant surprise in a month (September) which usually lacks any real good films hitting cinemas. It's a good hybrid mix of horror, fantasy, and action which should satisfy those who are fans of all three genres.

Pros:Good acting by most of the major players, great camerawork which really caught the atmospheres and set pieces in the film really well. Nice music during the action scenes, very cool visual FX, and a decent story.

Cons:A lack of thurough explanation regarding the villains background.

Overall:An enjoyable film that packs as much action and suspense into 90 minutes as possible..and comes out smelling like roses.

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