When I was in college, I would watch just about any movie that had a hard rock soundtrack. With White Zombie and Rob Zombie, 2006’s The Covenant had one of those soundtracks. Much like SwimFan, The Covenant hit me at one of those times in my life that I look back on fondly. When I saw that it was on Netflix, I had to take the time to watch it.
The story revolves around a group of friends who descend from four families that fled from Salem to Ipswitch during the Salem Witch Trials. Calling themselves the “Sons of Ipswitch,” they each possess a power to do some fantastical things. After getting to know everyone within the town things start to happen. And that’s where the film hits a multitude of film genres, including horror, suspense, action, and supernatural.
Originally released on September 8th, 2006, it would open to $8.9 million domestically. Following that, it went on to make $37.2 million worldwide, off of a $20 million budget before its marketing campaign.
Our chief eyes in the story are Caleb Danvers, the oldest of the Sons of Ipswitch. He is played by Steven Strait, who is now known as Jim in The Expanse. Caleb essentially is the leader of the sons and is the most responsible, knowing precisely what can happen with misuse of their power.
Pogue Parry, Reid Garwin, and Chace Crawford, the other three sons, are played by Taylor Kitsch, Toby Hemingway, and Chace Crawford, respectively. New kid in town, Chase Collins, who ends up befriending the Sons of Ipswitch, is played by Sebastian Stan. The two female leads are Laura Ramsey and Jessica Lucas playing roommates Sarah Denham and Kate Tunney, who are dating Caleb and Pogue, respectively.
Every central star in this film would go on to hone their craft and have parts in significant movies or tv shows. Besides Steven Strait, the biggest name in this cast is Sebastian Stan who would go on to have a major role in the MCU as Bucky Barns, The Winter Soldier. The other big name in the cast is Taylor Kitsch who was the lead in John Carter and played Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
The rest of the cast is not as big, but they would eventually put in performances other outstanding work. Toby Hemingway would have a small part in Black Swan and In Time. Chase Crawford would play Nate in Gossip Girl. Jessica Lucas is currently playing Tabitha Galavan in FOX’s Gotham.
Watching The Covenant again, I could see what I saw back when I first watched it. And now, it’s all just a nostalgia effect. The hardest thing to watch within The Covenant was the performances that the cast put in. To see stiff and wooden acting from a cast that would go on and produce such excellent work was eye-opening.
Acting is a skill, and most early rolls are rarely the best, and this movie shows it. The drama was overplayed and felt like a cheap lifetime movie, and the stunts showed the wirework vary clearly.
With this film based around a covenant of witches, there is a way that CGI wouldn’t have been needed, but it was used. And the CGI they used was used poorly, even by 2006 standards. Other than the obvious wirework, there are some other powers that the film shows that came off as laughably bad.
It reminded me a lot of the CGI that they used for TV at the time. While it is not fair for me to compare it to the seamless CGI that we get now, the effects within The Covenant pulled me out of the movie and put me in a fit of giggles.
The Covenant has a Rotten Tomatoes score that currently sits at 4%, meaning that only 4% of the critics that rated it give it a positive review. Looking back at the movie I can see why. This movie is full of wooden acting and poor CGI, not to mention poor plot building.
The highlight of the film is the story they tried to tell. As a group of friends traces their lineage back over 300 years to the Salem Witch Trials. With that, we learn what the weight of that lineage can do to a person.
While it’s not a great movie, it’s one that I still find myself enjoying even when I can see the problems in it. The only reason why I would consider recommending this film is if someone would like to go back and see the beginning of the careers of its cast.