OLD school Alien scares are mangled with a high-minded sci-fi plot in Ridley Scott’s Covenant.

The filmmaker is creating a series of movies that bridge the gap between Prometheus and the 1979 classic Alien, which he also directed.

But Covenant is a feature that does not really know what it wants to be. Scott is a meticulous director and the film has the right look and feel. It is beautifully shot and the eerie soundtrack is instantly reminiscent of the original Alien.

Covenant also pays fan service with the return of the iconic, monstrous xenomorphs and ‘facehuggers’.

But Scott is also determined to press on with his convoluted story – that attempts to explain the origin of these nightmarish creatures – which put off many viewers first time around in Prometheus.

This leads to some creepy scenes and food for thought but mostly it is counterproductive, stealing away the series’ mystery. Covenant focuses on the crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, who discover an uncharted planet that appears perfect for habitation.

There they encounter David (Michael Fassbender), the android from Prometheus, who has some secrets to share about how he has survived. The film has some great scenes like the pulse-racing first appearance of the ‘neomorph’.

Fassbender is also brilliant as both David and the crew’s own android Walter. There is a lot of nuance in his performance where he basically had to interact with himself to portray the meeting of two identical robots that are essentially the same but have different programming and intentions.

Although the less said about the now infamous, icky homoerotic flute scene the better.

Katherine Waterston also stands out as Daniels, the voice of reason on the crew, whose performance echoes Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley.

But unlike Scott’s horror Alien, here the director substitutes real tension for gore. And he makes it hard to sympathise for his characters when they make such stupid decisions and do not see obvious threats a mile-off.

RATING: 6/10