If you're wondering whether to head along to the new Alien movie, reading the current crop of reviews might leave you feeling, well, a little confused.

That's because critics are veering all over the place about Alien: Covenant, the big budget monster movie hitting New Zealand cinemas this week.

The film is Scott's follow-up to 2012's Prometheus, and is the fifth film in the Alien franchise that started with Scott's 1979 original.

It follows the crew of a transport ship called the Covenant who wake from hibernation early and find themselves on a seemingly habitable planet, only to encounter the Xenomorphs, the alien race seen in previous films.


The trailers seem typically tense and scary. But it's hard to trust early reviews, because they're all over the place.

"Alien: Covenant may be the biggest disappointment of the summer," wrote Gizmodo critic Germain Lussier, who called it "criminally backloaded" and said it contained plenty of gore but few scares.

"There's just nothing that memorable in the movie. The gore and creature work make for some fun or gross moments, but nothing in the film stands out as something worth of the name Alien," he wrote.

"Alien: Covenant gets rid of everything good about Prometheus and takes all the mystery of Alien away. It basically makes both films worse."

But The Hollywood Reporter had a completely different take, with reviewer Todd McCarthy calling it "gripping" and a "franchise renewed".

"The drama flows gorgeously and, unlike in many other franchises in which entries keep getting longer every time out, this one is served up without an ounce of fat. It provides all the tension and action the mainstream audience could want, along with a good deal more," he wrote.

The New York Daily News agreed, saying: "Further proving his mastery of creating tension and thrills, Scott has effectively created a satisfying hybrid of Alien, Prometheus and even James Cameron's Aliens."

But Empire's praise was also mixed: "An upgrade from Prometheus, Alien: Covenant amps up the thrills but doesn't deliver a memorable crew member or the full-on onslaught of the series at its height."

On Rotten Tomatoes, Alien Covenant has a 79 per cent approval rating. But on Metacritic, it's sitting at 65 per cent.

Audiences can judge for themselves when Alien: Covenant hits New Zealand cinemas this Thursday.