The Covenant

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Just over ten years ago there was a little movie called “The Craft” which starred Skeet Ulrich, Neve Campbell and Robin Tunney to name a few. The movie was a modest hit but certainly didn’t break any box-office records. Still, it was fun and enjoyable and reeked of mid-90’s persona. Flash forward a decade and we have what I’ll call the “anti” Craft. “The Covenant” takes pretty much the same plot and instead of starring four giddy high school girls, replaces them with four high school boys (who all look like Abercrombie & Fitch models, no less). Naturally you can’t really call a male a witch, they’re more commonly referred to as warlocks but no matter how you slice it, it’s about as believable as me winning the Pulitzer Prize. The man behind the camera is Renny Harlin who’s actually made some pretty enjoyable movies in “The Adventures of Ford Fairlane”, “Deep Blue Sea” and “Cliffhanger” to name just a few. I suppose every director is allowed a few mishaps and let me say that this is one of them.

At the Spenser Academy, things aren’t all they seem. Four families go back a long ways and the most recent four sons of those families are all endowed with powers that set them apart from the typical students. Their personalities are as different as night and day and should they use their powers too much, it will wreak havoc on their bodies and will cause them to age prematurely. That, however, is the least of their problems as Chase (Sebastian Stan), the new kid and the relative outsider has more to him than meets the eye. You see, when these kids turn 18 they’ll “ascend” and their powers will come to fruition and there’s an evil force that’s trying to stop that from happening. In between all of this is a budding romance between Caleb (Steven Straight) and new girl in town Sarah (Laura Ramsey). Will Caleb and Laura be able to live happily ever after or will the 300 year long secret finally be revealed? Truth be told, I really didn’t care and don’t now. If you like looking at male models who need acting lessons, then this might be for you but as for me – I think I lost a few points off my IQ and I don’t have that many to spare.

Video: How does it look?

“The Covenant” is presented in a fairly good-looking 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer. The movie is dark in both tone and how it’s literally presented. This could spell disaster for a transfer with all of the chances for artifacting to surface but it’s really not as bad as it could be. Black levels seem to be constant and very natural. Flesh tones are a bit on the overexposed side, but it could be a stylistic choice. Also, in a feat that I haven’t seen in a while the full-frame version is also included on the same disc! Honestly, I had enough of the movie so I didn’t even both to watch something I knew I wouldn’t like in full-frame. “The Covenant” looks pretty darn good and it’s a shame the subject matter couldn’t be as good.

Audio: How does it sound?

A standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track is used here and with some great effect too. There are several instances in which all channels are humming away, particularly during the ending battle sequences. The LFE get a good workout and dialogue sounds warm and natural. The majority of the action takes place in the front stage, but surrounds do kick in to offer some ambiance to selected scenes. On the whole, it’s not a bad sounding track.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Not much on the supplements side save for the audio commentary by Renny Harlin. Harlin often gives very good commentary tracks and this is no exception. He seems pretty proud of his work here, so I have to feel a bit sorry for him. Still, for those clamoring for more of “The Covenant” this would be it. There’s also a behind the scenes featurette “Braking the Silence: Exposing The Covenant”.

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