is a guilty pleasure that surpasses expectations, even though it owes a major debt to Alien
and its cinematic spawn. As he did with The Arrival
, director David Twohy revitalises a derivative story, allowing you to forgive its flaws and submit to its visceral thrills. Under casual scrutiny, the plot's logic crumbles like a stale cookie, but it's definitely fun while it lasts. A spaceship crashes on a desert planet scorched under three suns. The mostly doomed survivors include a resourceful captain (Radha Mitchell), a drug-addled cop (Cole Hauser) and a deadly prisoner (Vin Diesel) who quickly escapes. These clashing personalities discover that the planet is plunging into the darkness of an extended eclipse, and it's populated by hordes of ravenous, razor-fanged beasties that only come out at night. The body count rises, and Pitch Black
settles into familiar sci-fi territory.
What sets the movie apart is Twohy's developing visual style, suggesting that this veteran of straight-to-video schlock may advance to the big leagues. Like the makers of The Blair Witch Project, Twohy understands the frightening power of suggestion; his hungry monsters are better heard than seen (although once seen, they're chillingly effective), and Pitch Black gets full value from moments of genuine panic. Best of all, Twohy's got a well-matched cast, with Mitchell (so memorable with Ally Sheedy in High Art) and Diesel (Pvt. Caparzo from Saving Private Ryan) being the standouts. The latter makes the most of his muscle-man role, and his character's development is one more reason this film works better than it should. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
When their ship crash-lands on a remote planet, the marooned passengers soon learn that escaped convict Riddick (Vin Diesel) isn’t the only thing they have to fear. Deadly creatures lurk in the shadows, waiting to attack in the dark, and the planet is rapidly plunging into the utter blackness of a total eclipse. With the body count rising, the survivors are forced to turn
to Riddick and his eerie eyes to guide them through the darkness to safety. With time running out, there’s only one rule: stay in the light.
• Feature Commentary with Director David Twohy and actors Vin Diesel and Cole Hauser
• Feature Commentary with Director David Twohy, Producer Tom Engelman and Visual Effects Supervisor Peter Chiang
• The making of Pitch Black
• Production Notes
• Webcast/Rave Footage