Not being a fan of Vin Diesel, except for his work on “The Iron Giant” (1999), I finally sat down and watched the unrated version of “Pitch Black” (2000) and “Chronicles of Riddick” (2004). Not expecting anything I was pleasantly surprised to find myself entertained. “Pitch Black” has a classic horror/suspense setting where a group of people is marooned in a strange place (here: dead desert planet) and being killed off one by one either by each other or by a yet unknown party (insert: random Giger monster).
Since Riddick is the convict and track record mass murderer in the group he also is the prime suspect and main target but is he really the one the group should be afraid of?
With extreme lighting and harsh contrasts the director manages to create a very tense and hostile atmosphere that benefits from the barren desert set, intensifying and multiplying the omnipresent foreboding of doom. The plot is simple and supports only minimal development of the characters. Something most movies of this type lack is depth and “Pitch Black” is no exception. It also leaves much to be desired when it comes to logic, so you better not question anything that strikes you as impossible.
Imagine a desert planet where there’s daylight for 22 years (3 suns) and when darkness comes it is pitch black and you suddenly realize you are not alone. Are you scared of the darkness? If so then you will get some nice thrills out of “Pitch Black” and if not you still might wonder who will be the last one standing in the end.