Director – David Twohy
Cast – Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Kieth David, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Claudia Black, Rhiana Griffith, John Moore, Simon Burke, Les Chantery, Sam Sari, Firass Dirani
Release Year – 2000
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I remember liking Pitch Black when it debuted over a decade ago in 2000, but I had not seen the film since then and decided to give it a go and see if it was just as enjoyable as I remembered, and for the most part it was. While not as awesomely epic as I as it was for me back then, Pitch Black is still a very worthwhile effort that gives us a cool storyline and some pretty good horror for those who enjoy creature films with a few added twists.
When the space transport vehicle Hunter-Gratzner is forced to crash land on a barren planet after a meteor storm, the surviving passengers find themselves at odds end when no apparent sign of life is present on the planet, and a hardened convict, Riddick(Vin Diesel), escapes his holding cell and puts their lives in even more danger. Little do they know, they have stumbled upon a planet that harbors a hoard of flesh eating creatures held at bay by the sun, but as night falls they learn that Riddick is the least of their worries.
I love horror films that involve space, so this film giving us a slew of characters forced to endure a barren planet that they have no knowledge of was very enjoyable for me, which only became even more awesome when the creatures hit the screen. If you know me then you know I love creature horror, so the mix of both space and creatures was one that I heavily enjoyed, although usually when you get space you also get creatures, but still. The large number of characters was great in helping this 109 minute film achieve good pacing as they each came with their own unique qualities, and also provided plenty of kill sequences as well. The usage of the creatures as great, and I loved the fact that they were unable to come into contact with light as it just makes them more unique. To make this idea even better our protagonists stumbled upon the planet on the verge of suffering 22 years of darkness, so the creatures were given free reign to attack our characters and they were forced to get creative in finding ways to ward off the creatures, which resulted in some good tension as well. Riddick, who is by far the star of the film, was OK overall, coming off as the usual misunderstood “bad guy” who winds up being pretty much the only hope the remaining survivors have of making it out alive, and as usual not too much dialogue was written into the film for him. I did like the idea of him undergoing a unique surgery in prison that allowed him to virtually have night vision, which definitely came in handy during the night scenes and allowed him to have a strong advantage against the creatures, whom he fought in awesome fashion.
Director David Twohy(Below, The Chronicles of Riddick, A Perfect Getaway) did a positive job executing this piece, giving us good atmosphere and making the most of the darkness scenes by giving us good tension in how he executed them. There is a heavy amount of CGI that definitely feels “dated”, but for a film debuting in 2000 I can be forgiving of that. His execution of the characters was good, and pretty much all of the actors involved gave good performances, although Vin Diesel somewhat played Vin Diesel, as he usually does. The creatures were great and I loved the look of them, and they provided some fair kills that could have been better executed and consisted of more gore, but overall they were good enough to keep me interested.
Overall, Pitch Black is a positive film that most horror fans know of, and while it is not an overly awesome experience it does give us good horror sure to please those who enjoy space/creature films as I do.