Science fiction and fantasy                                            



The Covenant

directed by Renny Harlin

The Covenant poster  
Young, out-of-control male witches are are the stars of this thinly-veiled lecture on the dangers of drugs. The Sons of Ipswitch are four young men gifted with magical powers that allow them to get up to all sorts of mischief. They typically use them in the pursuit of fun, or to get themselves out of trouble.

But the powers have a downside: they're addictive, and over-use causes premature ageing. When the Sons of Ipswitch reach 18 they Ascend, coming into their full powers. When that happens they have to face up to increased temptation and greater dangers. But they stick together so they know what can happen, and they can look out for each other.

However there's evidence that someone has been over-using. The police are investigating a mysterious death following a party, and strange apparitions have turned up in the girls' dormitory As the situation escalates the Sons begin to suspect each other of abusing their gift. Whoever is responsible, Caleb (Steven Strait) must put a stop to it before the rogue magic user endangers all of the people he holds dear. Caleb must decide what, or who, he's willing to sacrifice in order to put a stop to the crisis.

The Covenant does a good job of covering a wide range of high school movie clichés, including parties, proms, fast cars, changing rooms, lecture hall embarrassments and a principal who cares about money more than justice. For good measure the Sons also happen to be keen swimmers, so there's no shortage of skin on display. There's also a very sugary romance brewing, one so sickly-sweet it's like the characters involved are made of treacle.

This movie builds up to the inevitable finale of fancy effects and a big scrap without the least bit of tension, because there's never any doubt things will pan out as expected. It's as predictable as taxes, and as exciting. This is urban fantasy by numbers, as though hot young people scrapping, kissing, and doing snazzy magic is all you need to make great entertainment. The anti-drugs message is clear and the pace breakneck, but many viewers will find The Covenant far too obvious.

7th June 2010

Film Details

Year: 2006

Categories: Films

  Fantasy

Classification: 12

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2 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson