Pitch Black

1999 / TV

SF elements

monsters in the dark


[a bit tied up at the moment] A transport ship crashes on a remote planet. There are three suns, and no night, but soon there will be an eclipse, plunging the planet into darkness, at which point the monsters appear. Naturally, the only one who can see in the dark is a dangerous convict, Riddick [Vin Diesel]...

[Before the eclipse]

This is a fairly straightforward horror flick -- monsters from the dark vying with monstrous convict for the part of most feared character -- with an SFnal setting. Some dodgy celestial dynamics (an eclipse of implausible duration), unconvincing meteorology (a torrential rainstorm on an arid planet), and frankly ludicrous ecology (a planet full of predators and nothing else ), make it hard to take seriously. Although the characters are reasonably competent for such a genre, they still do the usual silly things to drive the plot -- no-one seems to be interested in finding out how long the eclipse will last, people crawl into dark holes by themselves, people leave the protective lights, etc. [in a hole] (And, given the monsters are apparently hurt by the light, how come, when we "see through their eyes", there's no indication where the lights are?)

Some of the SFX are good -- I rather liked the overexposure to indicate searing light, but the plot holes are too thick on the ground (example: how come they need supplementary oxygen in the thin air to start with, yet are running around unassisted by the end?) to make this more than just mind candy.

Rating: 4.5

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 21 September 2003