Pitch Black (2000)

pitch black poster 2000 movie vin diesel
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Strong story, interesting characters, nice visuals

Some iffy acting, and some kind of bad sets

Movie Info

Movie Name: Pitch Black

Studio: Polygram Filmed Entertainment/Interscope Communication

Genre(s): Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror

Release Date(s): February 18, 2000

MPAA Rating: R

pitch black riddick vin diesel

Just another day in the life of Riddick

While transporting passengers and a criminal named Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel), a storm forces a ship to crash land on an unpopulated planet.  Pilot Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell) finds herself as one of the soul survivors of the crash and charged with trying to get the passengers off the planet.  Unfortunately, Riddick is also loose, and the criminal might not be the worst creature free.  Monsters inhabit the planet that only come out at dark…but an eclipse means that no one is safe.

Directed by David Twohy, Pitch Black (sometimes relabeled as The Chronicles of Riddick:  Pitch Black) is an Australian science-fiction action-horror film.  The movie was released to positive reviews and gained a cult following.

Pitch Black was one of those movies I thought was a complete write-off.  The movie looked like a lame and cliché action film built around a lack-luster wanna-be action hero.  When I finally watched Pitch Black, I found myself surprised a couple times…something unexpected for a jaded movie watcher.  Due to plot aspects of the film, a *******spoiler alert******* exists for the rest of the review.

pitch black die in france monsters

Well…I’ve had better days

The movie is full of twists that actually are kind of surprising if you go into it blind.  The movie is primarily an action film with a fantasy base, but it does have some aspects of sci-fi.  The best part of the film is that it is filled with flawed characters…from the pilot willing to kill her passengers to Riddick himself, the movie is full of anti-heroes.  It leads to some twists and surprises.  I personally was surprised twice (one with the reveal of the main character as a girl and the second as the “star” getting killed).  It is set up in a way that you don’t see it coming if you go in blind, and it actually works.

This can be known as the movie that “made” Vin Diesel.  Diesel had been a minor co-star before this movie, but a surprisingly strong performance as the killer Riddick turned him into a box office leader.  Radha Mitchell is also good as the pilot and the movie does a good job establishing the rest of the survivors…though there are a number of people masking Australian accents poorly.  The movie is simple, primal, and it works.

pitch black riddick vs monster vin diesel

It’s a face-off…let’s dance!

The movie is highly stylized.  The camera work has the imagery tinted with color (much like the Academy Award nominated Traffic which was also released in 2000).  The film is full of blues and reds and almost a black-and-white picture in the sense that most colors are flushed out in the processing.  The creatures of the movie are also pretty impressive but reminiscent of movies like Starship Troopers where there threat is in the sheer numbers instead of the danger of one individual monster.

Pitch Black is a surprisingly fun film.  If you let yourself enjoy it and let the action film overtake the sci-fi-fantasy, it is a fun film.  The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously and you can enjoy it if you let yourself open up to the fun.  The movie’s moderate success led to sequels and an establishment of a “Riddick” universe.  The movie was followed by the video game The Chronicles of Riddick:  Escape from Butcher Bay and an animated short film The Chronicles of Riddick:  Dark Fury in 2004 with a full length feature The Chronicles of Riddick being released in theaters in 2004.

Related Link:

The Chronicles of Riddick:  Dark Fury (2004)

The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)

Riddick (2013)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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