The only thing worse than the translucent CGI magic in The Covenant is its hilariously portentous dialogue. That and the fact that it will steal an hour and a half of your life...and refuse to give it back no matter how much you cry to the theater manager.

A cast of unrecognizable, generic twentysomethings stumbles gamely through this teen-oriented tale of prep-school warlocks in line to inherit untold (but dangerous!) powers.

Along the way, they struggle with a laughable bad-seed villain, their own pointless macho posturing and some halfhearted love triangles. To all this we can only add: Way to bounce back from that Exorcist prequel, director Renny Harlin.

Anyway, the achingly dull story takes forever to develop; if you've seen the trailer, the first two-thirds of the film are largely irrelevant, making The Covenant mostly an exercise in getting to the "good parts," which are, unfortunately, pretty lousy in the action-payoff department. Okay, in any department they are lousy.

This sort of thing might work as a desperation rental--like if you've been injected with poison and must keep watching incredibly lame movies or die, say--but really, at today's box-office prices, entering into The Covenant is an unholy alliance you should not be tempted into. You have been warned.
--Alex Markerson

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