The Covenant

Bomb Rating: 

Why does every fucking witch superpower story have to mention the Salem witch trials? Isn't there another reference these idiotic filmmakers can make? Sure, every teenager has read "The Crucible" and it's an easy way to give them that brief moment of intellectual satisfaction that comes with getting a cultural reference that doesn't involve Paula Abdul or MySpace, but can't Hollywood writers spend more than a millisecond mining the teenage psychic landscape?It's like quoting the first commandment in church and expecting people to follow you around like the Pied Piper.

In a role that seems uncomfortably close to his role in "Sky High" in a way that suggests some serious acting limitations, Steven Strait plays Caleb Danvers, part of a group of four teenage guys who are all warlocks descended from actual New England witch/warlock families - or something like that. Quite frankly, I wasn't paying that much attention to the explanation of how these dudes came to possess their powers because I just did not care. I felt that even a passing interest might mark me as an imbecile, so I just momentarily went into a coma.

The main thing is that Caleb is "ascending," which means that on his eighteenth birthday his powers get really super duper. It also means that every time he uses his powers, it ages him, so the powers are a double-edged sword. That idea is kind of an interesting one, but this film only takes it so far to show that Caleb's 44-year-old dad looks more old and tired than Hugh Hefner at one of his own parties.

Chase Collins (Sebastian Stan) shows up at school, makes friends with Caleb and his gang, and demonstrates some startling power of his own, setting up a showdown where the two teenage boys can fight it out and prove who has the bigger dick.

"The Covenant" is directed by Renny Harlin, who used to be married to Geena Davis, directed "Cutthroat Island," and whose films all seem to resemble music videos that are about 10 years out of date. This film may have finished #1 at the box-office last week, but that has a lot more to do with the weak competition. You could spend a more entertaining 90 minutes in the theater bathroom.

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