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 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.


The story begins in 1692, during the Salem witch trials, when a coven of witches consisting of five families from the Ipswich Colony of Massachusetts formed a covenant of silence that would protect their families and their remarkable powers from the witch-hunters. One family, the Putnams, became obsessed with power and endangered the secrecy of the five families, and as a result of their transgression, they were forever banished. The Putnams are presumed to have perished during the witch-hunts.

Flash forward to the new millennium, and the four Sons of Ipswich are now the student elite at the prestigious Spenser Academy. To the students of Spenser Academy, the Sons of Ipswich, Caleb Danvers (Steven Strait), Pogue Parry (Taylor Kitsch), Reid Garwin (Toby Hemingway), and Tyler Simms (Chace Crawford) are the baddest boys on campus. But that's not all they share. The four friends also share a 300-year-old secret: they're warlocks, the teenage descendants of the five families of 1692.

Bound by their sacred ancestry and sworn to silence, these four teens share a secret so remarkable that it has served to protect their families for hundreds of years; they possess "The Power", a source of nearly limitless mystical abilities that drains their life force if it is used excessively. They are given a taste of power at the age of thirteen, and then "ascend" on their eighteenth birthdays, becoming even more powerful. As the oldest, Caleb is the first of the four who will ascend. Caleb fears his impending eighteenth birthday, because once a warlock ascends, his power becomes addictive. Many warlocks, including Caleb's father, were overcome by the need to use the power and slowly killed themselves by abusing their magic.

Things change with the arrival of a new student named Chase Collins (Sebastian Stan), who quickly befriends the Sons of Ipswich. Caleb also forms a relationship with a new girl named Sarah Wenham (Laura Ramsey). As the school year progresses, the students of Spenser Academy find themselves plagued by supernatural attacks. Each night, the Sons of Ipswich are awoken by the sense that someone is abusing their powers. One student is killed, and his spirit is sent to torment the Sons of Ipswich in the form of "a darkling." Pogue's girlfriend is cursed with a "creation" spell of spiders and falls into a coma.

One day during a swimming match, Caleb sees Chase's eyes turn black, the sign of a warlock using his powers. Caleb and Pogue sneak into the school's records to find answers. They discover that Chase Collins was adopted, and that his adoptive parents were killed on his eighteenth birthday, presumably when he ascended. His real name is revealed to be Chase Goodwin Pope, which reminds Caleb of a name from the Book of Damnation, the historic text of the five families. In the book, names are listed of people who brought charges against John Putnam, the last known member of the fifth family who died during the Salem witch trials. A widow named Agnes Goodwin Pope, aka "Goodie Pope", accused John Putnam of coming "to her as an incubus in her dreams... after she was widowed." Dates in the book reveal that her son Hagan Pope was born eleven months after her husband Jacob Pope died, which means that John Putnam was Hagan Pope's real father. This means that the Goodwin Pope descendants continued the Putnam bloodline, and that Chase Collins is indeed the long-lost fifth Son of Ipswich.

Caleb confronts Chase, who admits to being the one using magic against the students of Spenser Academy. Chase reveals that he is more powerful than the other four warlocks, not only because he was the first to ascend, but also because he tracked down his birth father and forced him to "will" his power to Chase, making Chase twice as powerful as other ascended warlocks. Chase threatens to kill Caleb's loved ones unless Caleb also wills his powers to Chase, who targets Sarah as incentive. The Sons of Ipswich realize they must face their enemy in order to prevent him from stealing their powers and shattering The Covenant forever.

In order to protect his loved ones, Caleb goes to meet Chase; while making sure Reid and Tyler stay with and look after Sarah at the party. However, Chase snatches away Sarah to ensure that Caleb wills him his power. Caleb and Chase fight when Caleb refuses to will away his power, as that would result in his death. Meanwhile, Caleb's mum goes to Caleb's father and asks him to help Caleb - resulting in Caleb's father willing Caleb his power; enabling Caleb to defeat Chase and save Sarah, Kate (Pogue's girlfriend) and Pogue (who is in hospital due his prior encounter with Chase, after hearing that Kate is under his "creation" spell).


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.

External links[edit]