As descendants of the original families who settled in Ipswich Colony in the 1600's, four boys - Caleb (Steven Strait), Pogue (Taylor Kitsch), Tyler (Chase Crawford) and Reid (Toby Hemingway) - have all been born with a special power. When Chase (Sebastian Stan) comes to town, they learn the hard way that he is a fifth descendant, and secrets begin to unravel which threaten to break the covenant of silence that has protected their families for hundreds of years.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A promising opening sequence sets up Renny Harlin's turbo-charged sorcery story with its gothic links to 17th century witch hunts, but the story is firmly in the present, complete with college campus settings to attract its target market of young males, who would like to take a date to the scary movies so they can hug them for safety. Well, if that's all you're looking for, this is your movie.
Harlin lays on the atmospherics at full throttle, from the moonlit mist and rain drenched nights, the gothic buildings, autumn leaves blowing supernaturally in the wind, dizzy violin cues, and a little FX for the eyes of our superpowered heroes, who can will objects to move, create forcefields, fly gracefully down several stories and withstand extraordinary amounts of bodily impact.
The powers they have inherited and must use carefully, can be transferred by simply saying a few words (like "I will my power to [fill in blank]), but they are also addictive. The struggle in the plot comes down to the bad guy, Chase (Sebastian Stan), wanting Caleb's (Steven Strait) power. Chase is a maniacal baddie, helping to sell the film's message that power corrupts, and the more you have the more of a shit you become.
It's not a work of originality and the handheld camerawork gets tedious, but let's hope the message gets through.
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COVENANT, THE (M)
CAST: Steven Strait, Sebastian Stan, Laura Ramsey, Taylor Kitsch, Toby Hemingway, Jessica Lucas, Chace Crawford, Wendy Crewson, Stephen McHattie
PRODUCER: J. S. Cardone, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg
DIRECTOR: Ranny Harlin
SCRIPT: J. S. Cardone
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Pierre Gill
EDITOR: Nicolas De Toth
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Anne Pritchard
RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 12, 2006
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Entertainment
VIDEO RELEASE: February 14, 2007