Sci-Fi / Horror
Pitch Black
Dir: David Twohy
Star: Vin Diesel, Rahda Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Claudia Black
Cert / Year: Unrated / 2000
Format: DVD R1

Sci fi + Horror = poor Alien rip-off right? No way, not this time.

In the future the crew and passengers, travelling in the spaceship equivalent of a Ethiopian state airline cargo plane, are rudely awakened from hyper sleep when the ship is damaged by the debris from a comet. With the captain dead the young pilot Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell) has to guide the ship through a crash landing on an uncharted planet. Apart from the pilot, a mixed group of passengers survive the crash. The group includes the dangerous convict Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel) and his "rent-a-cop" captor Johns (Cole Hauser). As the survivors take stock of the strange world, which because of it's three suns, it never goes dark. Riddick escapes. A search to find him uncovers an abandoned prospectors camp along with a working escape craft. They also manage to uncover a dangerously lethal type of alien, which due to extreme photosensitivity can only live in the dark. Not a problem on a planet with no night.... unless of course there is a total eclipse of all three suns that is. Guess what.....!

Don't you just hate reviews that claim that this is the best Sci-fi film since (insert title), well this definitely is. The film begins with an outstanding crash landing. Superbly scripted, and well directed the landing sequence is a high tension action packed roller coaster ride, which provides a spectacular opening to the movie. Once on the planet brilliant use is made of lighting both in the varying light from the different suns, and later in the darkness. This is direction of the highest order. The script continues with the standard it initially sets, and while to dialogue is not too intellectual, its so sharp it bites. A few plot twists may be easy to spot, but the ending should provide at least one major surprise.

The cast are not "big names" but all fit the roles perfectly. Most outstanding is Vin Diesel who performance shines (even in the dark), as he provides one of coolest anti-heros ever. Lets hope this leads to further leading roles.

Special effects are always important in a film like this and Pitch Black does not disappoint. As already mentioned the crash sequence is brilliant. The aliens at times look a little to CGI'd but are truely convincing when glimpsed in the dark.

It is the darkness that is the real key to the film. Locations that were previously wide open spaces in the day become claustrophobic pools of light in the dark. This does not mean that you cannot see what is happening, but with an ever reducing amount of light the terror really builds.

Overall I cannot recommend this film highly enough. It is a original view on an existing genre, with brilliant direction, scripting, and action that just adds icing to the cake. The fact that this film was almost totally overlooked at the cinema is a crime.


Are you afraid of the dark? You will be.

Don't be afraid of the dark. Be afraid of what's in the dark.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Logan's say:

If by any chance you are a Noctiphobe (scared of the dark) this is not a film for you. For the best and most impressive results while watching the film you need all the lights turned off, and the surround sound cranked up. Pitch Black is written by Jim Wheat, whose other credits include being the screenwriter for genre classics The Fly 2 and and A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, but you can't hold that against him forever. The story itself is nicely written and well realised on-screen, a good Sci-Fi horror film that you can really get into.

This is a film that you have to watch, no matter what you do don't miss it. This is brilliant, it has an original story, excellent characters, the special effects are outstanding and the film manages to be a Sci-Fi, Horror and Thriller all in the one very tidy and creepy package. This has to be the best Sci-Fi / Horror film since Alien (Although no one can beat Ridley Scott)

Rising star Vin Diesel is outstanding as Riddick a true Anti-hero for the modern age that you just have to root for, this role could have been written for him specifically. If you read the details of his character on the DVD extras menu or the official Pitch Black website (linked to below) you will see why. A truly excellent bad / good guy. Farscape star, Claudia Black truly shines, and Cole Hauser is very slick and mean as Johns. Radha Mitchell is just splendid as Carolyn Fry as we watch her character gradually develop all the way through the film right up to it's surprising and exhilarating ending. As for the rest of the film, the script is very strong and David Twohy directs unerringly. His use of natural and un-natural light filters is something to behold, as he produces some breathtaking resultst. He manages to provide the viewer with a chilling backdrop so atmospheric it seeps out from the screen and into your living room. This is why I said turn off all the lights and crank up the surround sound, this film deserves it. The special effects are pretty much flawless and don't, unlike many of it's predecessors, overshadow the rest of the film.

In general this innovative piece is intelligently filmed and cleverly put together. Surprisingly and dissappointingly short lived at the cinema, and generally overlooked. Unfortunately the film was also slated by many "published", illiberal low fore headed morons who have no idea of true cinematic excellence. They obviously prefer the awful Baz Luhrman rendition of Romeo & Juliet.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic Importantly perfect.
Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital Spatial positioning is superb, just check out the crash.
Features Audio Commentary
Short Featurette
CD-ROM Interactive Games
Theatrical Trailer
Rather oddly included is film of a rave with music supposedly inspired by the main feature
Verdict Top quality picture and sound with a strange mix of extras. The Unrated versions does add in a few key moments so is worth it. More extras is all that is missing.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Link Back Top Home