Pitch Black

MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for sci-fi violence and gore, and for language.

Reviewed by: Gabe Rodriguez

Moral Rating: Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: • Young-Adults • Adults
Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Thriller
Length: 1 hr. 47 min.
Year of Release: 2000
USA Release: February 18, 2000 (wide)
Copyright, USA Filmsclick photos to ENLARGE Vin Diesel in Pitch Black
Featuring Vin Diesel, Keith David, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, Lewis Fitz-Gerald
Director David Twohy
Producer Tom Engelman
Distributor USA Films

“There’s a new reason to be afraid of the dark.”

Films in this series:
• “Pitch Black” (2000)
• “The Chronicles of Riddick” (2004)
• “Riddick” (2013)

“Pitch Black” opens with a bang—the spaceship belonging to our group of heroes crashes onto a desert planet where it’s always daylight. (The planet revolves around three suns, and therefore never gets dark). Our heroes discover, however, that in the dark underground of this world lurks some nasty winged aliens. So what’s the problem? Those menacing, people-eating aliens can’t survive in daylight, so all they must do to stay alive on the planet is not go underground. But then, somehow, they find out that a total solar eclipse is coming and that it will be pitch black on the planet for who knows how long. The old underground pals are sure to come out for some dinner.

Lewis Fitz-Gerald and Radha Mitchell in “Pitch Black” The performances are mostly not much more than cardboard. Filling the tough-girl Sigourney Weaver role is Radha Mitchell, an indie actress who actually gets to have some fun with her role. Wasted character actors Vin Diesel, Cole Hauser, and Keith David don’t really go anywhere with their roles. The script is only mediocre, and its dialogue is classic of B-movies (which this one would be). After the opening 10 minute crash scene, this film falls flat and becomes neither scary nor interesting. And after the lights lose and the aliens attack, it gets old really fast.

Content wise, this film has a great deal of profanity, violence, and gore. There are somewhere near 30 f-words, not to mention other foul language present. The violence is all bloody, but some of it is actually restrained for a sci-fi movie, especially when compared to its obvious role model “Alien”. The main character, although he is a bad guy/escaped convict, curses God a few times. But “Pitch Black” doesn’t have an anti-God slant, thanks to a save from a friendly Muslim guy.

My advice would be to anyone who is not an avid sci-fi buff, skip this film. It has shaky camera work (“Blair Witch goes to Mars” anyone?) and the last half bears the title color almost completely, both of which makes it hard to see much of anything. Pile that on top of the language, bloody violence, bad script, bad acting, and a super-non-entertaining story, and you get something destined for the Sci-Fi Channel.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
I absolutely loved it! Yes, it’s true, Riddick does say he hates God, but consider his life circumstances. Didn’t we all “hate” God before we truly came to know Him? I did. And it’s honestly something I’m still getting over. And it is only a movie. I love the futuristic sci-fi genre in movies. Reminds me of “Mad Max”! Loved it, loved it, loved it! (“Mad Max” that is) A lot can be learnt from it. He went back in the end when he could have easily let them die in the cave. And you could see he was thinking about them the whole movie. And it’s an interesting idea of being able to see in the dark, don’t you think? My Ratings: [3½/3½]
Margie, age 24
I was very much looking forward to this film after seeing the trailers. However, I nearly cried at the end because the movie was so disappointing. While Vin Diesel did well, I just couldn’t get over the fact that this movie was neither scary or thrilling. I wanted to see monsters and people fighting it out like in “Starship Troppers”, but instead the people run away the whole time in the dark. Save your money folks. I am a hugh Sci-Fi fan and I will NEVER see this again even if it were a private screening. My Ratings: [2½/1]
Edward Lanning, age 25
I too was offended when the title character said he hated God. The short of this is, the line was put there to show that the character was TOTALLY rejecting God. However, there is some serious dialogue at the end of the movie which leads to a conclusion that the character is on his way to being saved. As for the movie itself I’d say definitely no kids, the images are way too real and a child dies graphically from a swarm of aliens that resemble a bat/mantis/shark cross animal.

If you have mastered the art of closing your eyes when you hear the “musica nervousa” begin, then you won’t find this movie scary at all, there are no sudden gore scenes. If you like classic sci-fi with-out the horror this movie should be worth seeing. Check out the “Pitch Black” webpage ( for some interesting insights into the movie and feeling of how the movie plays. I failed to get any horror aspects (people die, but mostly in very obvious times and places), so I would classify it as more a sci-fi/suspense movie.

Seeing it on the big screen may be more interesting, but considering how dark the film is on the big screen, I’d bet if you’re worried about the gore aspect renting the movie may be a good option. So, if you can handle people dying via mean winged beasties (many do) and bad language give it a shot. Otherwise, I’d stay away. My Ratings: [3/3½]
JK Perry, age 29
Yes, I agree that the plot is a little slow and unoriginal, however I found that there was some genuine redemptive symbolism. The woman who sacrifices her life for the convict makes an impact on that man to the point where he feels he is underserving of such an act of mercy, and he is a changed man at the end of the film. His final phrase is, “I died on that planet…” I enjoyed this parallel to our call to die to our old life and start anew based on the sacrifice of another (Jesus!). Am I the only one who saw these positive applications? My Ratings: [2½/2]
Jordan Wessling, age 18
I’m a big science fiction fan, and love most movies of this type. I did however, walk out as did some of the young men I was with. Any movie which openly speaks evil of God (I believe in God, and I hate the ********.” We walked out at this point. Don’t bother. Stand firm on your convictions. Never allow anyone or any film character defile God or make such an accusation… My Ratings: [1/3]
Edward Black, Jr., age 33
I’m not a big sci-fi fan to begin with, but I was very shaken by a line I heard spoken by a main character, the convict, who says that he does believe in God, but hates the *******. The missing word begins with “F” and ends with “er”. Need I say more? I left shortly after. My Ratings: [1/2]
Jen, age 38
Well, the main guy (escaped bad-guy convict) does say he believes in God, then he says he hates God for the circumstances of his life, conversing with a Muslim priest. Could have been a thought provoking plotline, but this is as far as it gets. Interesting sci-fi idea, but more of a rental video than a big screen thriller. I wouldn’t take anyone under fifteen to see it. My Ratings: [3/2]
David, age 31
This movie is a pure waste of time and money. I know I should have walked out with the others who did. The plot is mindless and could have been developed by a 5 year old. The movie is filled with the f-word many, many times. A one cool cat in the movie is asked about God and he says “I hate God”! Please, Christians don’t waste your time on this mindless, ignorant film like I did, which I regret! My Ratings: [1½/1]
Thomas Davis, age 27
What a fun movie! This science fiction pic is original, has great special effects and aliens and is much less gory than the normal “Alien” type fare. I have no problems with my young teens seeing it, but under 11 may find it too scary and suspenseful. There is bad language and violence, but is so much less than other sci-fis that it can be enjoyed by a larger audience.

For a family discussion afterwards, there are interesting topics such as self-sacrifice, honesty, dealing with fear and situations that look hopeless and for those who are Christians, how faith would affect you if you were stranded in space… and at the mercy of strange creatures! If you like to be scared with a modicum of gore, this one is a good choice. My Ratings: [3/4½]
Stephanie Hanson, age 42