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Compass A&E

The great drive-in movie critic Joe Bob Briggs held that a successful horror movie is one where anyone can die at any time.

If that’s true, then Ridley Scott’s “Alien: Covenant” is the new gold standard.

In the latest installment of the Alien franchise — this one is a sequel to 2012’s “Prometheus,” if you’re keeping track — Walter (Michael Fassbender) is the conscientious “synthetic” in charge of the Covenant, a ship carrying colonists to a new world on a journey that will take seven years.

The...