out of Five
Running time: 97
Daft but nonetheless enjoyable supernatural thriller, featuring some hilariously bad dialogue, impressive special effects and some genuinely creepy scenes.
What's it all about?
Director Renny Harlin seems to have developed a taste for the supernatural after his recent stint on the Exorcist prequel. The Covenant tells the tale of the impossibly good-looking Sons of Ipswich (no, really), four teenage boys with supernatural powers inherited from the founders of the Massachusetts Ipswich Colony in the 1600s and protected with a covenant of silence.
Mostly the boys use their powers for lifting up girls' skirts (to settle bets on underwear) or making their enemies vomit, but there's one problem: in a thinly-concealed drug metaphor, the more they use their powers, the more addicted they become and the weaker they get.
As if that wasn't bad enough, they also have to deal with the onset of ascension (in which their powers get stronger as they turn 18) and a mystery assailant who has begun to target both the boys and their girlfriends (Jessica Lucas and Naomi Watts-alike Laura Ramsay).
The fact that The Covenant stars no-one you've ever heard of means that at least there was plenty of spare cash around for the effects' budget. As a result, there are several excellent effects sequences, notably a genuinely scary sequence involving spiders. Lots and lots of spiders.
The acting is passable but only Ramsay makes any kind of impression.
It also doesn't help that several of the male leads look confusingly alike, particularly the long-haired ones.
The plot is pretty silly and it doesn't take a genius to spot the mystery assailant. However, the hilariously awful dialogue elevates the film into so-bad-it's-good territory, with classic lines such as, I'm going to make you my wi-atch! and Dude…who'd send you a darkling?
Surprisingly enjoyable, provided you're prepared to leave your brain at the door. Forgettable Friday night fun.
The Covenant (12A)