The Movie Binge

Review: The Covenant

20060913covenant.jpg

The Covenant is a film so utterly wrecked by the tedious contrivance of its high concept that it barely matters that the rest of the production is extremely shoddy and half-assed. As the filmmakers go through great pains to set up the boring rules and details that set it apart from other teen-witch stories, they render their own central metaphor unintelligible. Take your pick – it's either some tired “mystical powers as a metaphor for drug addiction” story that was trite even in the context of the generally brilliant Buffy The Vampire Slayer series, or some garbled thing about fearing the loss of male sexual potency with age.

In spite of some perfunctory cheesecake shots scattered throughout the picture, The Covenant is mainly concerned with the power and privilege of young male sexuality, though its ideas on the subject are extremely unclear. The film doesn't shy away from homoeroticism, but the sexually charged interactions of its blandly hunky male leads are so lacking in urgency and subtext that it seems to be entirely for the shallow titillation of horny girls who want to see hot guys together, but aren't sure if they actually want them to be gay. Though this is a pleasing mainstream reversal of the “girls lezzing out to turn on fratboys” shtick that has become so mundane in a post-Howard Stern America, it's not any less timid and boring.