But hey, this isn’t exactly On the Waterfront they are butchering here. Career hack J.S. Cardone churns out scripts in-between his day job as an excutive producer. With titles like Sniper 2 and Vampires: The Turning under his belt, we shouldn’t be expecting much more than B-grade thrills. But in this case we can’t even expect that. The screenplay is so empty of any significant action that it barely manages to fill out its 90 minutes. There’s not one ounce of tension in the whole movie. Even the climactic battle at the end is a giant disappointment.
Luckily for Cardone he has picked himself a director of equally mediocre talents. Renny Harlin has made a career of empty, glossy action films like this one. From Deep Blue Sea to Cutthroat Island, no-one does pointlessly pretty and unforgivably stupid like ‘ole Renny. And he’s in his element here, layering on the gothic atmousphere like lard and hyping up the action sequences as hard as he can go. Harlin has always been a filmmaker of adolescent appetites, so perhaps he is perfect for The Covenant. In any case, the two certainly deserve one another.
The only glimmer of frisson in the entire running time is the above average special effects. James McQuaide, who did such marvellous work on the equally gothic Underworld, has cooked up some impressive visual trickery, including a scene where Caleb effectively teleports his car through an oncoming truck. But the piece de resistance is a scene in which hundreds of magically conjured spiders crawl all over Jessica Lucas. It’s as close as the movie ever comes to scary.
Perhaps The Covenant is the perfect fantasy movie for young teenagers. It’s like being at one of the cooler older kids’ parties – everyone stands around looking impossibly hip and not doing too much, they all drive fast cars and bikes, there are a bevies of pretty girls draped all over them and there are no messy curfews to get in their way. As for clever dialogue, like, who needs it. And drama? Like, whatever. This is a movie after all, don’t make us, like, think or anything.
- Alistair Fairweather
The only thing supernatural about this movie is that anyone would willingly sit through 90 minutes of this glossy, empty nonsense.
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