Promises are oaths people make to guarantee a behavior or the delivery of something. Often times, if the promise is broken only bad feelings will be the consequence. That all depends on who the promise is being made to; breaking a promise to an evil entity rarely if ever ends well. This idea in mind, Director Manuel H. Da Silva (Human Nature 2020, The Unleashed 2011) present Covenant, a new Horror Thriller available on digital and DVD as of Tuesday, February 4, 2020 via High Octane Pictures.
Focusing on the perils of breaking a dark promise, the film stars Nick Smyth (The Flying Man 2013, Video on Trial 2009) and Margaryta Soldatova (Spinning Out 2020, Deadly Class 2018) as two people desperately trying to survive. Ian Parker (Smyth) is returning to the isolated woods of his home in the Pacific Northwest because his estranged mother has recently died from a tragic event. She has left him her estate and he must go and get things in order.
When initially entering the seemingly quiet town it is obvious that his presence is neither welcomed nor has it gone unnoticed. Sheriff Malloy (Peter Valdron: Drive-Through: The Story Movie 2014, Beauty and the Beast 2012) is especially interested in his return as he believes Ian might have had something to do with his mother’s death. But the sheriff is not the only one pestering Ian. Evil forces are at work that have been dormant for years just waiting for Ian to return
As Ian is attempting to come to terms with his past and his mother’s death, he encounters Jayde (Soldatova). Jayde is weapon herself; an ally who knows the secrets Ian’s mother kept from him. Demons are after him because of a covenant she made with them years ago. She is the only person who can help Ian escape from the clutches of an ancient evil that wants nothing but to capture a taste of Ian and his bloodline.
As the pair battle the six supernatural bounty hunters summoned to capture Ian, he soon realizes the magnitude of his situation. It is no longer just about his survival, but that of his young son’s. The ultimate question is will evil win? Or can Ian and Jayde somehow find a way to defeat an evil being that has existed for countless years?
Upon introduction to Smyth’s character, Ian, you will bristle with the sheer amount of anger that he possesses. The character is clearly not a happy or nice person. The abrasiveness of the character is an immediate turn off and will not allow you to fully invest in the film. In fact, none of the actors have any type of chemistry with each other or with their surroundings.
Then there is Soldatova’s Jayde, who although obviously is beautiful and strong, simply comes across as comically wooden and flat. Flawed does not have to mean unlikeable, but that is the character that you are given. The other characters around him are equally as unlikeable and hollow. Yes, not all characters need to be likeable, but there has to be something that pulls the viewer in and want to invest time into their story and ultimately the film itself.
Evil and demons at the core of most films usually indicates there will be a level of special effects present. While Covenant’s effects are not top notch, they are effective. The effects are really what make the film watchable. They are not particularly extravagant, but they are reminiscent of the 1980s or 1990s. Evil will always be a bit off putting and strikingly different to the norm. The special effects team for this film are the true heroes.
When it is all said and done the plot of Covenant is not unique. It is not the first or last story that will be told about broken promises or sacrificing a child to a demon to acquire power or to simply show their devotion. However, it is the way a story is told that will ultimately make it stand test of time. Sadly Covenant will simply not be one of those films. Though the special effects are retro fun, the acting and muddled pace does not allow it to shine. It is for these reasons that Cryptic Rock gives Covenant 2 out of 5 stars.