The Covenant (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Renny Harlin|
|Written by||J. S. Cardone|
|Edited by||Nicolas de Toth|
|Distributed by||Screen Gems|
|Box office||$37.6 million|
The Covenant (sometimes stylized as THE COVENAN+) is a 2006 American horror 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 high school boys - Caleb, Pogue, Reid and Tyler, together known as the Sons of Ipswich - are the descendants of colonial witch families and thus wield magical abilities which first manifest on their 13th birthday and grow stronger until they Ascend at 18. The Power is linked to their life force; the more they use, the faster they age. This becomes more dangerous as, upon Ascending, their powers reach their full strength and become so addictive, seductive as they say, that some can't resist. Caleb - who's closest to his 18th birthday - exhibits restraint.
While attending a bonfire, Caleb meets Sarah, a transfer student from a public high school in Boston. The Sons also meet Chase Collins, a new student at Spencer Academy. Their meeting is cut short when cops appear to break up the party. The boys escape by using their combined power. After a student is found mysteriously dead near their campus, various paranormal occurrences take place, with Sarah and her roommate Kate being the focus of it. Upset, Caleb suspects Reid - the most reckless of the warlocks - but he angrily denies any abusive usage of his powers.
Caleb and later Pogue see a "darkling," a dead spirit and malicious omen. Meanwhile, Caleb and Sarah quickly become romantically close. During a swim race, Caleb notices Chase, who had befriended the group, displaying magic usage. After researching, Caleb concludes that Chase descends from a fifth family, the bastard son of Goodwin “Goody” Pope, one believed long extinct, and that he is the true perpetrator. As the Sons discuss this revelation, Pogue learns that his girlfriend was rendered comatose by a spell. Enraged, he hastily challenges Chase, who swiftly hospitalizes him.
Caleb visits Sarah only to fall into Chase's trap. Chase reveals that he was unaware of his magic's origin, having been adopted. After locating his biological father, he learned of the price for ascension; but it was too late and he has become too addicted to using magic. His biological father then transferred power to him. Chase wants to force other "ascended" witches to transfer power to him as well, starting with Caleb. Despite Caleb's warning that having more power does not save him from aging to death, Chase ignores him. Before leaving, Chase threatens harm on Caleb's family and friends if he does not get what he wants. Caleb reveals the truth to Sarah and takes her to his father, a man of forty-four years with a decrepit old body, exhausted from magic abuse. When Sarah suggests that one of the other three transfer their power to Caleb so he could evenly match Chase, Caleb immediately refuses, explaining that doing so will cost them their lives.
On the night of Caleb's eighteenth birthday, he leaves to face Chase alone, and has Reid and Tyler safeguard Sarah in public. However, Chase easily kidnaps Sarah. At an old barn, the two confront each other. Chase reveals a spellbound Sarah and gives 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 and Caleb is clearly outmatched. At the exact minute of his birth, he ascends, and his power fully matures, which allows him to mount an offensive. However, as Chase has more than one magical share, he still proves superior and the temporary turn of tide does not last long. Back at home, Evelyn, Caleb's mother, begs her husband to save Caleb. He sacrifices himself and transfers his power remotely to his son. 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 awaken, freed from their curses.
Firefighters arrive on the scene. 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 survived and 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.
- Steven Strait as Caleb Danvers - the main protagonist; one of the four Sons of Ipswich, he attends Spenser Academy along with the other Sons and is the oldest and most responsible of the four. He is very cautious about using the Power, due to the effect it's had on his father, and is the first to ascend.
- Taylor Kitsch as Pogue Parry - One of the four Sons of Ipswich who is close to Caleb and is dating Kate.
- Toby Hemingway as Reid Garwin - One of the four Sons of Ipswich and the most reckless of the four who often butts heads with Caleb.
- Chace Crawford as Tyler Simms - One of the four Sons of Ipswich who is close to Reid and usually takes his side.
- Sebastian Stan as Chase Collins - A new student at Spenser who befriends the sons of Ipswich. He is later revealed to be the last of the Sons of Ipswich as well as being the one behind the supernatural occurrences, and is the film's main antagonist.
- Laura Ramsey as Sarah Wenham - A new student at Spenser who transfers from a Boston public school and Caleb's love interest. She is the only one outside the Covenant who learns about the boys' secret.
- Sarah Smyth as Kira Snider - A snobby student and Aaron's girlfriend.
- Jessica Lucas as Kate Tunney - Sarah's roommate and Pogue's girlfriend.
- Kyle Schmid as Aaron Abbot - A pompous student and jock.
- Wendy Crewson as Evelyn Danvers - Caleb's alcoholic mother who worries about her son ascending and becoming like his father.
- Stephen McHattie as William Danvers III - Caleb's father.
- Kenneth Welsh as Provost Higgins - Head of Spenser Academy.
- Jon McLaren as Bordy Becklin
- Steven Crowder as Party Kid
Despite a popular misconception, The Covenant is not based on a comic book title nor on any other book. The confusion comes from the fact that Sony released a comic book of the same name, written by Aron Coleite, and created for the purposes of promoting the film. Neither the authors of the comic-book miniseries nor Top Cow Comics are mentioned in the film's 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.
The Covenant received extremely negative reviews from critics, with a 3% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and 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." The film also holds a place on the site's "Worst of the Worst", ranking 31st. The film received a 19 out of 100 score on Metacritic, indicating "overwhelming dislike".
Upon its release in the United States, the film managed to top the box office charts, with a $8.9 million opening on what was called a "weak" weekend. As of October 15, 2006, The Covenant has earned $23,292,105 in the U.S. ($37,256,954 worldwide). The film cost roughly $20 million to produce, not including marketing.
- "THE COVENANT (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. September 5, 2006. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
- "The Covenant (2006) - Financial Information". The Numbers.
- The Covenant at Box Office Mojo
- "From Film To Comics: Coleite & Rodriguez tackle "The Covenant"". Comic Book Resources. July 8, 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
- The Covenant at Rotten Tomatoes
- Worst of The Worst 2000–2009. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-10-28.
- The Covenant at Metacritic
- 'Covenant' Hovers Over Weak Weekend. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
- The Covenant – DVD Sales. The Numbers. Retrieved 2011.07.23.
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