To mark it’s 20th Anniversary, Pitch Black has been given the 4K remaster treatment by Arrow Video. The first film to feature Vin Diesel in his breakout role of anti-hero Richard B. Riddick, revisiting Pitch Black now Diesel has become as big a star as he is, it’s quite refreshing to see how humble the beginnings are for both Diesel’s breakout role and the character of Riddick (well, relatively to monster-fighting sci-fi movies). Sure, it may be another in a long line of Alien knock-offs, but at least it’s a fun one!
The film introduces Riddick aboard a passenger spacecraft on his way to prison, escorted by bounty hunter Johns (Cole Hauser) along with a crew of commercial passengers. When the craft is struck by shards of a comet, it crash lands on a planet with three suns, an impending eclipse, and an eerily abandoned mining facility. When the passengers discover that they’re not alone on the planet’s surface and are being hunted by a vicious race of aliens who only come out in the dark, they have to trust in the mysterious Riddick, whose enhanced eyesight may be the only key to their survival.
As far as ‘things that go bump in the night’ concepts go, Pitch Black certainly has a doozy. Sure, it’s convenient that the convict in chains has the one ability that should prove incredibly useful against creatures that only come out in the dark, but it only adds to the B-movie/John Carpenter-esque spirit of the whole enterprise. This is a fairly low budget sci-fi horror, and it gets decent mileage out of its premise, even if it does take a bit too long for the sun to go down.
Full review over at Filmhounds Magazine, originally published September 6th 2020.