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Covenant: Brotherhood of Evil (2006)

Covenant: Brotherhood of EvilStarring Edward Furlong, Michael Madsen, Chandra West

Directed by Michael Bafaro


What are the odds that two entirely different movies called The Covenant would come out at roughly the exact same time? This direct-to-DVD Covenant – fully titled The Covenant: Brotherhood of Evil, possibly to avoid confusion even though the “Brotherhood of Evil” addition sound more befitting the other film – actually does the impossible by managing to be a worse film than Renny Harlin’s theatrically released “Lost Boys for the MySpace generation” suckfest. At least that Covenant wasn’t as highly derivative and dreadfully dull from beginning to end as this Covenant was.

Young David Goodman (Edward Furlong, who has definitely seen better days) experiences the worst day of his life. He first gets passed over for the promotion he rightfully deserved and then he’s blinded after getting spray painted in the face by a graffiti vandal who apparently only targets tire rims. Things take a turn for the supernatural when David is contacted by the mysterious Guillermo List (Michael Madsen, looking like he’s ready for the starring role in a Judd Nelson biopic). List sends his nameless henchman/driver to fetch David so that he can ask like questions like, “What would you give up in order to get your sight back?” David replies, “Anything.” The devil likes that answer. David is thenpresented with a demonic cane and from there…

Ever see The Devil’s Advocate with Keanu Reeves? Ever see any of those movies or TV shows where someone acquires a cursed object that causes the person to undergo a personality makeover for the worst? If you can answer “yes” to both those questions then you have absolutely no reason to watch The Covenant: Brotherhood of Evil because you’ve already seen this movie and seen it done much better.

It only takes about five minutes for it to become painfully obvious that Edward Furlong was totally miscast in the lead role. He’s not the least bit convincing as the skillful businessman he’s supposed to be and his “Woe is me, I’m blind” act comes across more like a crabby guy that just quit smoking cold turkey and is experiencing severe nicotine withdrawal. Seeing him strut around in a business suit, it was amazing how much Furlong reminded me of Steven Seagal: frumpy looking, tired eyes, big black clothing trying to mask his newfound girth. He even uses an identical acting style to Seagal: soft-spoken, sometimes outright mumbling his lines, always with the same inflexion in his voice. His performance proves especially troublesome when he begins his turn to the dark side, becoming a shark in the boardroom and a devil with the ladies. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between the before and after David Goodman other than the seduced by evil David Goodman being a bit more surly and, of course, a murderer. To call Furlong’s performance here “flat” would be an understatement and it totally kills any chance that the movie might have had.

Then again, I’m not entirely sure this movie ever had much of a chance. It plays like an especially lame episode of either the new “Outer Limits” or the new “Twilight Zone” – take your pick – that got more than an extra half-hour of boredom tacked onto it. Pretty much the entire midsection of this movie feels like it’s just spinning its wheels until it finally gets to the obvious climax.

White Noise‘s Chandra West is cast as David’s way-too-hot-for-this-lout wife, Lisa. Her role for the first half of the film is composed mostly of seeing and hearing strange things around the house, then walking slowly throughout the house trying to find the source of the strange thing she just saw or heard. The second half of the movie has her having figured out that the cane is the source of whatever it is that’s happening to her husband and trying to track down the truth, which turns out to be a much wider conspiracy. Everyone that assists her in this quest winds up dead. Her pursuit of the truth takes up a whole lot of time and results in a whole lot of nothing. Again, the movie’s just spinning its wheels.

Now this is supposed to be a horror movie, although I suspect everyone involved would prefer the term “supernatural thriller.” Call it horror or call it a thriller – doesn’t matter since it fails on both counts. One moment David’s having what may or may not be a dream and then all of a sudden he finds himself being attacked by the what looks a lot like those demon tree root dryad things from Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, and then – POOF! He’s suddenly awake in bed having rough sex with the wife. Yep, it’s one of those “characters having random nonsensical hallucinations” types of supernatural horror thrillers.

One look at that demonic walking cane and it’s hard to believe this movie wasn’t intended to be a comedy. A walking cane with the devil’s head carved on it that looks like a Halloween store prop. You’d think the members of a global satanic cabal would carry around something a little less likely to draw attention to themselves like a cane with a great big devil head on it. Why not just wear T-shirts that say “I’m with Satan!” Making it even sillier are the uber cheesy moments of CGI used to bring that devil head to life.

Especially silly is the opening prologue that explains how this Guillermo List acquired the cane. Aside from Michael Madsen looking far too modern for someone walking around WW2 era Europe, you’d think an artifact of such unholy power would be under heavier guard than a box in a room inside a church protected by a lone priest. Well, he did lock the door to that room, so I guess that counts.

The demonic walking cane’s power also causes David to begin seeing and hearing things like a drunk would – wavy, blurred vision and distorted voices and sounds. Well, I guess that’s what happens when Michael Madsen supplies you with your evil.

And I must say that I never imagined the final showdown between good and evil as predicted in the Book of Revelations would come down to Edward Furlong and Michael Madsen flying around in a whirlwind of light while having a tug-of-war with Ozzy Osbourne’s walking stick. But then even that finale doesn’t matter since the real ending completely nullifies most of what we’d just seen and leaves you wondering what exactly did happen during that climax. I suspect most viewers won’t even make it to the ending, having turned this thing off out of sheer boredom long before.

1/2 out of 5

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Jon Condit

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