‘The Covenant’ surprisingly good

Robert Taylor

Steven Strait escapes mediocrity in The Covenant. PHOTO COURTESY OF SONY PICTURES

Credit: Jason Hall

There is no reason for The Covenant to be as good as it is.

Its main cast is a bunch of models trying to act. It’s a watered-down PG-13 horror movie. It has a lot of fake CGI that take away from the scares. That’s the trifecta. This movie, for all intents and purposes, should suck badly.

But it doesn’t.

The Covenant, a story of four teenage warlocks having to face off against an evil warlock intent on stealing their powers, rises above its very obvious limitations because of the stylish direction of Renny Harlin.

Harlin brings an amazing amount of dread and mood to a movie that, in any other hands, would look like a bad pilot episode of a WB series. He seems to understand that his actors can’t act, so he tries to focus as little on their acting abilities as possible, instead making his focal point the eerie locations and creepy suspense scenes.

There are a couple good twists and scares. One – in a bedroom after a main character has had an accident -had me floored, and another involving spiders is sure to raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

Of course, Harlin’s direction can’t overcome all the problems. The movie does feel like a rejected teen supernatural pilot script turned into a feature film. The lack of any closure at the end and the promise of a sequel make the movie feel empty and forced.

The finale is one prolonged action set piece full of so many phony-looking CGI shots and bad puns it felt like watching an episode of “Smallville” for a minute.

And, as said before, the actors can’t act plain and simple. Regardless how good they may look in Speedos, there should have been some better people hired to play the leads.

But The Covenant still isn’t that bad. I imagine it will do very well once it hits video stores. It’s a harmless horror film that has enough action and scary scenes to please the guys and enough hot men to please the ladies.

Contact ALL correspondent Robert Taylor at [email protected].

The Covenant

Starring Steve Strait, Sebastian Stan, Taylor Kitsch, Jessica Lucas

Directed by Renny Harlin

Distributed by Sony Pictures

Stater rating (out of five): ???