The Covenant (film)

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The Covenant
The Covenant.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Renny Harlin
Produced by
Written by J. S. Cardone
Music by tomandandy
Cinematography Pierre Gill
Edited by Nicolas de Toth
Distributed by Screen Gems
Release dates
  • September 8, 2006 (2006-09-08)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million
Box office $37.6 million[2]

The Covenant is a 2006 American action supernatural horror thriller film written by J. S. Cardone, directed by Renny Harlin, and starring Steven Strait, Taylor Kitsch, Toby Hemingway, Chace Crawford, Sebastian Stan, Laura Ramsey, and Jessica Lucas. The film, despite receiving very negative reviews, was a moderate box office success.


In the town of Ipswich, four popular teenage boys – Caleb, Pogue, Reid, and Tyler – are descendants of colonial witch families. Collectively, they are known as the “Sons of Ipswich,” and secretly possess magical powers passed down through their respective bloodlines.

At a local beach party, they meet new transfer students Sarah and Chase. After Caleb returns home, his mother Evelyn expresses her worry about the boys’ casual use of their abilities. Upon a witch’s eighteenth birthday, they “ascend” and their previously consequence-free power binds to their lifespan. Despite usage exponentially aging them, their magic also strengthens a thousand fold, thereby intensifying the already seductive urge to draw upon it. The Sons, well versed in those facts, remain mostly carefree. Only Caleb – the closest to his eighteenth birthday – exercises caution.

Supernatural occurrences of unknown source begin happening, which Caleb can feel. He accuses Reid, the most reckless of the four, to be the culprit; Reid angrily denies involvement. Though Sarah receives the brunt of paranormal harassment, Caleb and later Pogue see a “darkling,” or dead spirit sent as a malicious omen. Meanwhile, Caleb and Sarah quickly become romantically close.

During a swim race, Caleb fleetingly notices Chase, who had befriended the group, display magic usage. By combining research of school records and historical text, Caleb concludes that Chase belongs to a fifth bloodline initially believed long extinct and that he is the true perpetrator. As the Sons discuss this revelation, Pogue is informed that his girlfriend Kate was rendered comatose by a spell. Enraged, he hastily challenges the now openly hostile Chase. However, Pogue is swiftly defeated and hospitalized.

Shortly after, Caleb visits Sarah only to fall into a trap with Chase lying in wait. Having spent the majority of his life with adoptive parents, Chase shares that he was unaware of his magic’s origin until he located his biological father. Too late, he learned of the ascension price, already eighteen and deeply addicted. His birth father then “willed,” or transferred his power to his son. As it is implied that only an ascended witch possesses this ability, Chase wants Caleb specifically to do the same in order to further increase his strength, theorizing that more power could counter its cost. Caleb clarifies that the body wears down and not the magic itself, but Chase remains unconvinced. Before leaving, he threatens harm on everyone dear if Caleb does not will his power after ascension.

Caleb reveals the truth to Sarah, showing her the grim fate of magic abuse when she meets his father, a man of forty-four years with a decrepit old body. When Sarah suggests that one of the other three will their power to Caleb so he could evenly match Chase, he immediately refuses, explaining that since their power becomes tied to their life, the act of willing results in death.

On the night of Caleb’s eighteenth birthday, in order to protect his friends, he insists on facing Chase alone against their protests and those of his mother. Instead, he has Reid and Tyler safeguard Sarah in public while he goes to do battle. This fails, as Chase instantly absconds with her.

At an old barn, Caleb confronts his enemy. Chase, anticipating his demand would not be met, reveals a spellbound Sarah, giving Caleb an ultimatum of his life for hers. Caleb declares he won’t will his power away or let Sarah come to harm. They duel using their powers, and Caleb is clearly outmatched, unable to defend himself. At the exact minute of his birth, he ascends, and his power fully matures. This allows him to successfully mount an offensive. Because Chase has more than one magical share, he still proves superior and the temporary turn of tide does not last long. Elsewhere, in desperation, Evelyn begs her husband to be selfless for once in his life and will Caleb his power, and he does so. Once his father’s power is infused within him, Caleb hits Chase with a final blow that engulfs him in a ball of flame. Sarah, Kate, and Pogue each awaken in turn, freed from their curses.

Firefighters arrive on the scene. Anxious to ensure that they are safe, Caleb and Sarah wait until inspection of the barn’s wreckage is complete; they are informed that a third person was not found, suggesting Chase somehow escaped. The pair get into Caleb’s car, and he casually uses magic to fix the busted windshield, which seems visibly unsettling to Sarah. He reassuringly holds her hand, and they drive off.


The Sons of Ipswich possess a variety of supernatural abilities, including various types of kinesis:

  • Psychokinesis – The power to move or levitate objects without touching them, also called telekinesis.
  • Pyrokinesis – The power to control fire and heat.
  • Aerokinesis – The power to control the wind.
  • Atmokinesis – The power to influence the weather, particularly to make it rain or to summon storms and lightning.
  • Levitation – The power to defy gravity and hover or maneuver freely in the air or even fly.
  • Astral Projection – The power to project one's consciousness and senses beyond and away from the physical body.
  • Superhuman Strength – Increasing one's physical strength to above-human performance.
  • Shapeshifting – The ability to change one's physical appearance and voice to appear as another person.
  • Teleportation – The power to instantaneously disappear from one place and reappear in another.
  • Clairvoyance – The power to see things that are invisible, such as the creatures known as 'darklings'.
  • Other spells to damage, or protect self from physical damage.
  • The fifth son had control over spiders and could cast other damaging spells through them.



Despite the popular misconception, The Covenant is not based on a comic book title nor any other book. The confusion comes from the fact Sony released a comic book of the same name written by Aron Coleite created for the purposes of promoting the film. Neither the authors of the comic-book miniseries nor Top Cow Comics is mentioned in the films’ credit sequences, so the comic-book miniseries is not regarded as source material by The Covenant‍ '​s producers. In fact, the film originated from a spec script and went through a number of drafts, by different writers, before J.S. Cardone eventually submitted the final draft. Cardone received sole screenwriting credit.[3]


The Covenant received extremely negative reviews from critics, getting a 3% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the site's consensus stating "The Covenant plays out like a teen soap opera, full of pretty faces, wooden acting, laughable dialogue, and little suspense."[4] It also holds its place on the site's "Worst of the Worst" ranking 31st.[5] The film received a 19/100 on Metacritic, indicating "overwhelming dislike".[6] The film has gone on to develop a cult following.

Box office[edit]

Upon its release in the United States, the film still managed to top the box office charts with a $8.9 million opening on what was called a "weak" weekend.[7] As of October 15, 2006, The Covenant has earned $23,292,105 in the U.S. ($37,256,954 internationally).[2] The film cost roughly $20 million to produce, not including marketing.

Home media[edit]

The Covenant was released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 2, 2007. It went on to sell 1,618,891 units which translated to revenue of $26,578,576.[8]


  1. ^ "THE COVENANT (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. September 5, 2006. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b The Covenant at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ "From Film To Comics: Coleite & Rodriguez tackle "The Covenant"". Comic Book Resources. July 8, 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  4. ^ The Covenant at Rotten Tomatoes
  5. ^ Worst of The Worst 2000–2009. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-10-28.
  6. ^ The Covenant at Metacritic
  7. ^ 'Covenant' Hovers Over Weak Weekend. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  8. ^ The Covenant – DVD Sales. The Numbers. Retrieved 2011.07.23.

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