Pitch Black (2000)

DVD Cover (Universal Reissue)
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Overall Rating 69%
Overall Rating
Ranked #631
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A commercial transport ship and its crew are marooned on a planet full of bloodthirsty creatures that only come out to feast at night. But then, they learn that a month-long eclipse is about to occur. --IMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: September 23, 2009
For the most part, the sci-fi/horror flick Pitch Black flew under the radar until the sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick, was released four years later. Kind of a shame really, because it was actually a pretty solid movie, and so much better than the next one.

A space transport is cruising along on autopilot, all of its occupants in cryosleep, when it passes through the tail of a comet. The burning chunks of debris rip through the ship, killing the captain and causing it to crash land on an uninhabited desert planet. Making matters even worse is that among the survivors is a serial killer named Riddick who has had an operation performed on his eyes giving him the ability to see in complete darkness; in the confusion of the crash he has escaped and is hiding somewhere in the desert. Even so, things seem to be going well enough; while exploring this new world, they discover an old mining colony with a water supply and a readied space transport. The only maintenance it needs is to carry a half dozen power cells (which are heavy as hell) the few miles from the old ship to the new.

However, back at the crash site, the man who has been burying the bodies has been attacked by vicious creatures living underground. Riddick is recaptured by the man who was transporting him, William Browns. Naturally, he's blamed for the man's death, but the group soon learn of the creatures' existence, and also that they will avoid the light at all costs. Considering this solar system has three suns and night never falls, they rest easy. Unfortunately, the relief is short lived, as they realize that the planet they're on is about to be caught in the shadow of a neighboring planet. The eclipse will douse the desert in pitch black, releasing the monsters from their subterranean world and giving them free reign of the surface. Trapped in their original ship with the creatures banging on the hull, the group try and formulate a plan to move the remaining cells the multi-mile journey to the escape ship. They soon realize that their only hope is to place their trust in Riddick, using his altered sight to guide them through through the darkness.

One of the strongest elements about this movie is that it takes a lot of cues from Alien; it's not so much a fusion of sci-fi and horror, but rather a horror movie within a science fiction setting. If you look past the setting and relatively minor plot point that they're trying to repair a space ship, you have a group of people trapped in the dark with giant monsters trying to eat them. The unpredictable nature of Riddick also lends a lot of weight to the film. Creating an antihero is one of the toughest things to do, but Pitch Black nailed it. Sure, Riddick is helping this team survive, but he's still a mass murdering asshole with his own interests above any thing else.

Thanks to his involvement in The Fast and the Furious and xXx, I never really took Vin Diesel seriously. I always considered him more of an action guy for frat boys with popped collars, but he's surprisingly solid here. See, Diesel's character is written so that he doesn't really have to actually act, and it goes without saying that this is the best thing for him. This isn't a bad thing though, in fact, he's entertaining as hell as Riddick, since his low-key attitude allows him to bank solely on his charisma, which he has in abundance. There was more than a handful of scenes here that were sold more by his shit eating grin than anything else. The other two main roles, pilot Carolyn Fry and Riddick's handler William Johns, played by Radha Mitchell and Cole Hauser respectively, were also quite good in their roles, Hauser especial. And finally, Keith David gets time to shine in the supporting role of Imam, proving he can be more than just a voice.

Pitch Black was a damned entertaining movie, and it really is a shame to see the path that both the franchise and Diesel's career took afterward. Apparently two additional sequels are being planned, hopefully they're something of a return to form. 8/10.
Lucid Dreams #1: Lucid Dreams - added 09/23/2009, 02:14 PM
Thanks to his involvement in The Fast and the Furious and xXx, I never really took Vin Diesel seriously. I always considered him more of an action guy for frat boys with popped collars, but he's surprisingly solid here.

I agree with you on that and I can't stand him on anything else, but this movie did pretty good. 8/10
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 09/23/2009, 02:21 PM
A pretty damn good horror movie. Vin Diesel included, the acting is great, the story is great, and it looks good. I haven't seen it in a few years, but I really can't think of any problems I had with it. I've never seen the sequel, but it looks a little more like an action film than a horror film. Probably why I've taken a pass on it all these years.

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