The Covenant

Is it THE CRAFT (1996) with hunky guys? An antidrug PSA in which high-school students struggle with the seductive allure of "using" (their powers, that is) vs. the price of addiction? A pilot for a supernatural teen soap opera that lost its way en route to the late, lamented WB network and wound up on movie screens? A live-action International Male catalog?...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Is it THE CRAFT (1996) with hunky guys? An antidrug PSA in which high-school students struggle with the seductive allure of "using" (their powers, that is) vs. the price of addiction? A pilot for a supernatural teen soap opera that lost its way en route to the late, lamented WB network and wound up on movie screens? A live-action International Male catalog? Written by old exploitation hand J.S. Cardone and directed by Renny Harlin, this glossy, preposterous thriller is all these things and less. Descended from the founding families of Ipswich, Massachusetts, whose 17th-century witch hunts rivaled Salem's, Caleb Danvers (Steven Strait), Reid Garwin (Toby Hemingway), Tyler Sims (Chace Crawford) and Pogue Parry (Tayler Kitsch) seem to have it all: sky-high cheekbones, sculpted abs, fabulous wealth, and the power to levitate, become invisible and blow past inconveniences such as locked doors and stalled engines with a blink of their spooky eyes. When they turn 18 — Caleb is first in line — they'll "ascend" into their mature powers, which are really, like, awesome. The catch is that every time they use, a little piece of them dies. Some of the chosen get hooked and pay the price — like Caleb's dad — while others keep the craving in line and use magic only when it really counts. Reckless Reid appears to be on the road to trouble: He's always using his powers for petty reasons — eluding the cops ("Harry Potter can kiss my ass!" he gloats), cheating at pool and looking under girls' skirts — which is, frankly, exactly what the average teenage boy would do under the circumstances. But Reid is actually the least of the group's problems. Someone with magic mojo just like theirs is stirring up trouble, and the evidence points to transfer-student Chase Collins (Sebastian Stan). But how did Chase get the power, and why is he being such a jerk, conjuring creepy apparitions and unleashing icky spider whammies? Conceived as a modern-day variation on THE LOST BOYS (1989) but more closely resembling homoerotic horror pictures such as THE BROTHERHOOD (2000), the film includes some scenes of pretty girls (Jessica Lucas, Laura Ramsey) hanging around in their scanties, but lingers longer on shots of the studly stars taking showers and stripping out of their skimpy swimsuits for some locker-room lounging. It fails utterly as a horror picture, although it delivers plenty of PG-13-rated flesh and unintentional laughs.

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  • Released: 2006
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: Is it THE CRAFT (1996) with hunky guys? An antidrug PSA in which high-school students struggle with the seductive allure of "using" (their powers, that is) vs. the price of addiction? A pilot for a supernatural teen soap opera that lost its way en route to… (more)

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