The latest Alien movie is in theatres, and it’s a lot like the others, which means tons of casualties, and robots can’t be trusted. A few wrinkles separate Covenant, though. First, Danny McBride is in this one, and he’s a convincing space cowboy. He knows his John Denver, and he won’t rest until the crew is rescued. “We didn’t come here to be safe,” he says. Next, we have a rather sad depiction of Christianity in Billy Crudup. He wants to do the faithful thing, but the multitude of monsters make it difficult for him. Finally, Michael Fassbender plays two androids: one good, one very bad — and he takes us into the apocalyptic realm.

Billy Crudup has to assume the role of captain after James Franco burns to death in his sleeping chamber before he gets the chance to deliver any lines. Apparently he couldn’t survive the final cut. It’s a little funny. But Crudup is morbidly serious. He’s the outspoken, born-again Christian of the group, and he fears that the others will judge him if his faith gets in the way of his decision-making. He therefore talks humorlessly about searching for clues and acting based on the evidence. But with his quaking voice and weak presence, nobody gives him any credence. He tries to win over Katherine Waterston’s Daniels with an odd sycophantic spiel, and he thinks that the crew has been handed over to the devil when they encounter the murderous aliens. He’s an interesting projection of the filmmakers’ thoughts on Christianity, but it’s all pretty cynical. The Alien movies have a very low anthropology across the board, though, so Crudup’s character didn’t ruin it for me. And he’s not nearly the most interesting depiction of God and man in the film.

Michael Fassbender plays a pair of androids, both created by a cultured Guy Pearce, who we meet in a meticulously curated room, brand names included. (Ridley Scott’s movies have grown increasingly heavy on surface. No wonder people are nostalgic for dim, gritty Blade Runner.) The first Fassbender, David, is leftover from Prometheus, and he’s been doing some tinkering worthy of Dr. Faustus. He enters this movie like an angel in a flash of light to save the lowly humans. Walter, Fassbender with a haircut, is among the inbound crew, and we can tell from the way the camera lingers on him that he’s thinking deeply about all of this. The two come together in a few wonderful scenes. Walter is a newer, more finely tuned model, but David was given the power to create, and he’s developed several “human idiosyncrasies.” The two are clearly more gifted than the people around them, and they talk in conspiratorial tones about their purpose as immortal beings. David recites poetry to Walter and whispers the usual sweet nothings: I’ve been waiting for you, You’re the same as me, Isn’t our creator a bozo? All humans are bozos, etc. In contrast to the typical A.I. creatures who prey on our paranoia of computers rising to squash us, Fassbender’s characters frighten because they talk like eugenicists and have no qualms about wiping out entire civilizations. It feels graver than Singularity.

David senses the weakness of the group right away and directs his attentions to the God-fearing Billy Crudup. They’ve landed on a hostile planet and the body count is rising, so it shouldn’t come as a shock to Crudup that Fassbender’s David is bad news. Nevertheless, he follows him into the room where he keeps all his science experiments. Crudup actually manages to shoot down one of the aliens. He mistakenly equates the slain beast to the devil he saw as a young kid, which the audience is to take as a sort of testimony. What Crudup can’t parse, though, is that the devil might be taking the shape of the man right in front of him. And David is a convincing devil.

Aside from accrediting “Ozymandias” to Lord Byron (it’s Shelley, dummy!), David has no chinks in his armor. The film presents him like a neo-nazi knight of the apocalypse. In one terrifying flashback, he drops the “pathogen” like a plague of locusts on a massive courtyard of his subjects. They are vanquished brutally, and left to rot on bended knee as if in worship to Nebuchadnezzar. The imagery is very Old Testament, as is the film’s title. It works best as an Old Testament tale, but the biblical metaphors mix slightly. While the all-powerful androids, dispatched by an old gate keeper to keep human civilization afloat, sound like a re-working of God sending Christ to earth, Walter and David are more convincing as Miltonian devils, unleashed in the garden. Toiling away in his grisly laboratory, David beckons Billy Crudup because he still lacks one essential ingredient to bring his killing monster to life: humanity. Sin in the shape of those face-hugging, chest-popping monsters? I’ve heard crazier.