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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Covenant 2017 * * Stars

The CovenantDirector: Robert Conway
Year: 2017
Rated NR
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Monica Engesser, Owen Conway, Clint James

Sarah Doyle (played by Monica Engesser), loses her daughter in a drowning accident and then her husband commits suicide. She later decides to move in with her brother (Richard Doyle played by Owen Conway) and gets possessed by a demon. Talk about having a bad luck streak. Anyway, that's the gist of The Covenant, my latest review.

Not to be confused with 2006's film harboring the same title, "Covenant" has some incestuous moments that reminded me of 1981's Amityville II: The Possession. In fact, director Robert Conway turns The Covenant into cinematic potluck ripping off movies like Paranormal Activity, The Exorcist (the concluding bedroom scene feels totally copied), The Conjuring, and the aforementioned "Possession". Technically, his direction isn't awful yet his flick is spoofed, trashy, and cheesy to a fault. He trades jump scares for ghastly images and quick, banal flashbacks. He then squanders detailed special effects for low budgeting. Bottom line: "Covenant's" tag-line reads, "EVIL HAS DESCENDED". It should have said, "EVIL HAS FAILED TO TRANSCEND". Natch.

Image result for the covenant 2017 movie scenesNow I haven't mentioned the level of acting in The Covenant and for good reason. I wanted to wait till later on in this review. Guess what, it's bad. It's so bad in fact that the casting agent might have pulled people off the street and propelled them straight into the unions. I mean, have you ever heard of Laura Durant, Clint James, or Maria Olsen before? Me neither. In all fairness, nobody comes off like Laurence Olivier in a usual horror film but this is a whole different arena. Everyone in "Covenant" reads their lines as if they are looking at cue cards or saying them in the rhythm of pentameter. With the exception of Owen Conway (mentioned earlier) at least trying to do something with his character (he occasionally reacts and rages), The Covenant comes off like a middling, film school project. It has standardized visuals and gives the impression that it's bound for entry in some seedy flick fest via Podunk, Iowa ("Podunk" is a term that represents any small, insignificant town).

In conclusion, if movies about demonic platitudes, evil spirits, and bloodied entities are new to you then you might get a kick out of "Covenant's" carefully common plotting. And if you've never seen a twist ending, never viewed a man trouper cutting his tongue out, or never beheld a woman trouper gouging her eyes with her own two hands, then The Covenant might give you the creeps. Otherwise, this is assembly line stuff, devoid of freshness and destined never to get a wide release in the states. My rating: 2 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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