Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger
Starring: Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Claudia Black, Lewis Fitz-Gerald
Director: David N Twohy
A collision in deep space causes a transport ship to crash land on an unknown planet killing most of the crew and passengers. The planet has a breathable atmosphere, but appears devoid of any source of water or food, and because it has multiple suns, there is no darkness.
Among the survivors of the crash is a bound and gagged prisoner, a dangerous murderer who after escaping from prison is being transported back to justice by a law enforcement office who may not be all it seems. Shortly after the crash the prisoner Riddick (Vin Diesel) escapes, putting the other survivors in immediate danger, but still with Riddick on the loose they must search for water or they will die.
While 3 of the survivors stay to guard what remains of the ship the rest go off towards what appears to be a few trees on the horizon. Only to find when they get there, that the ‘trees’ are massive skeletons of unrecognisable creatures. They come across an abandoned camp with evidence that an expedition of geologists previously visited the planet, only why had they left without taking either their personal belongings or their small ship on the planet.
Meanwhile one of the 3 survivors back at their own ship discovers an entrance to an underground cavern while digging to bury the dead, and is pulled into the underground darkness by Riddick or something else.
A model of the solar system the planet is in is found in the abandoned geologists camp showing an eclipse is about to happen plunging the planet into darkness. Whatever is underground likes dark and doesn’t like humans. What is going to happen when the planet becomes ‘pitch black’?
PITCH BLACK is not a huge budget film but nevertheless the effects are excellent and the lack of a STAR WARS type budget does the film no harm at all.
Made in Australia one of the stars, Claudia Black, will already be known to audiences as Aeryn Sun from the television series FARSCAPE and the role she plays in this film as well as her wardrobe, looks like she walked straight off the set of FARSCAPE on to the set of PITCH BLACK. This is not a criticism, just an observation, as Claudia would look good in anything!
PITCH BLACK may sound a bit like ALIEN and it does have that feel of the first two from that series, but in many ways it is superior, may be because it’s lack of budget has to be made up for by good acting, storyline and generally very good film making.
This is probably the ‘sleeper’ hit of the year. An unexpected movie with enough tension to make you leap out of the seats you will be sitting on the edge of.
An excellent piece of sci-fi.