The Covenant – Blu-ray Review

ARCHIVE: Original Post Date – January 24th, 2007

The Film

Man, oh man. What is today with studios treating stupid, monotonous films like they’re new pieces of work? I sometimes wonder why I sit down and waste my time with films like The Covenant. The only reason one can think of is so I can tell everyone to simply avoid a film like or because there is something eerily attracting about bad, cheesy films that we must see.

Caleb Danvers (Steven Strait) and his three buddies are your typical group of college students at a New England Ivy League college. They all think they’re the shit and no one can touch them. We quickly learn why they believe this, as all four are apparently heirs to a centuries-old legacy of witchcraft. The film tells us that five families were endowed with Wiccan powers that would be past down from generation to generation. Doesn’t that sound cool? But wait there is more folks! At the ripe old age of eighteen all heirs must ascend into an age of maturity causing our friends to age rapidly. Sweet huh?

You must be thinking to yourself that the insanity will stop right here and I’ll begin pointing out the faults in the film right? Well sorry to disappoint here as I still have a bit more to tell you. Turns out that a new man on campus named Chase Collins (Sebastian Stan) wants to get to know Caleb’s girlfriend Sarah (Laura Ramsey) and her friend Kate (Jessica Lucas). When Kate is attacked by a bunch of demonic spiders, the four friends began to wonder if Chase is more than meets the eye. The rest of the film is skillfully done (HAHA sorry I couldn’t help myself there).

As I mentioned above, there is a certain eeriness that makes us want to see films like The Covenant. Maybe it’s that these films are all delightfully trashy giving us constant laughs not for their witty humor but rather for their extreme cheesiness. For myself it certainly wasn’t the tagline of ‘From the Producers of Underworld as I despise those films, but more than I know Renny Harlin is capable of something as he has directed a few quality films like Cliffhanger. Granted there are a few moments of enjoyment in this one (particularly the fight sequences), however I couldn’t get over the extremely formulaic plot that kept getting passed off like it was something original. What happened to the days where teen-orientated films (like The Breakfast Club) were actually, gasp, good? It just seemed like Harlin has given up and has decided to make films like this not to improve his craft but rather to receive paychecks.

So no, The Covenant isn’t as bad as Underworld, but the film never creates a sequence where we feel like caring for our characters. The men and women were more cast for their marketable looks rather than their acting abilities. If you must tell everyone you’re watching this film because you’re tired of watching a thinking film and would rather watch a stupid, brain off film. That’s the only reason I can think that I watched this one because, in all honesty, The Covenant is so bad that it’s almost enjoyable to watch.

Video Quality

One thing I’ve come to expect from Sony is that they may choose stupid films to support, but they certainly demand a quality image from their directors. Such is the case here as The Covenant is fantastic.

Presented in a 1080p, MPEG-2 Encoded, 2:35:1 Widescreen Aspect Ratio, this film boasts some of the best image quality I’ve yet seen from Team Blu. Detail was flawless with the print, obviously benefiting from being less than 4 months old, maintaining a clear, pristine look. Color usage was awesome as reds, blacks and greens jumped out. I simply loved how the film had a perfect 3-D image certainly helping to add to the quality. I will comment that Sony does tend to charge a bit for their Blu discs but they certainly do give us a reason to support our Blu habit. Stupendous effort Sony!

Audio Quality

Less than 24 hours ago I wrote that Buena Vista’s The Guardian had become one of my favorite demo discs. Well even though the movie is horrendous The Covenant boasts some damn fine audio.

Arriving with an uncompressed Liner PCM 5.1 Surround Sound Audio Track, everything was a winner on this loser of a film. Dialogue was crisp and clear with no real instance of the dialogue ever becoming muddled. Dynamic Range was excellent with such force that it felt like I was being blown back in my sit. I loved the final climatic sequence between Chase and Caleb. As car crashed and these two fought, I felt like I was right there beside them witnessing the fight. Surround usage was fantastic with little effects like yelling and screaming creating that perfect ringing throughout the room. One thing I’ve always come to expect from director Renny Harlin is a dynamite audio experience. Such is the case here as The Covenant is a great sign of what we can expect from our Blu buddies in 2007.

Bonus Materials

  • Audio Commentary with director Renny Harlin: Director Harlin sits down and speaks on his film. One thing I’ve noticed from listening to past Harlin commentaries is that the man never succumbs to the shitty films he makes. He treats them like they’re gold never letting the endless ridiculing get him down. Anyhow Harlin informs on the making of the film, casting, and production. I found it funny how original Harlin seemed to find this film.
  • Breaking the Silence: Exposing The Covenant: This 20 minute making of runs like your standard run-of-the-mill making of. We’re given the standard set footage, interviews with the cast (who MUST have been paid to make this film seem like the second coming) and production sets.

Closing Thoughts

With the film only being three weeks old, I’ve already received questions as to why I bought this one. I don’t answer but only let the film’s video and audio (the only two saving graces on this one) do the talking. Sony certainly knows how to provide an exemplary package when it comes to the V/A. The huge disappointment, besides the film itself, is that we get no real quality features (maybe that’s good though?) Only rent this one to demo out your equipment.

the_covenant_blurayBuy this Blu-ray on Amazon