Box art for Pitch Black

Pitch Black

action & adventure, sci-fi & fantasy, thrillers

When their ship crash-lands on a remote planet, the marooned passengers soon learn that escaped convict Riddick (Vin Diesel) isn't the only thing they have to fear.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
1 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5

Original Riddick pic is violent, with teamwork rewarded.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pitch Black is the sci-fi action movie that spawned Vin Diesel's "Riddick" franchise. This first movie, however, is mostly about characters working together to survive a greater threat. It features strong sci-fi violence, with creature attacks, blood splatters, shooting, fighting, and death. Language is also very strong, with many uses of "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole." One character keeps a stash of fancy liquor, another smokes cigars, and a third is addicted to painkillers. Sex isn't much of an issue, though two of the female characters are dressed in skimpy/sexy outfits. Overall, older teens should be OK, especially given the movie's admirable themes.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's sci-fi violence. How much is shown and how much is only suggested? How effective is this style of violence? How did it make you feel?
  • How does teamwork operate in this movie? How does being selfish lead to one's demise?
  • What is the appeal of the Riddick character? Is he a good role model?
  • Are the monsters in this movie scary? Why or why not?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 29
    see all Pitch Black reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Pitch Black is the movie of the season for sci-fi and horror fans!

- Andrew O'Hehir,, Saturday, January 1, 2000

Rotten: Director and co-writer David Twohy has stolen from so many other movies in order to cobble together the paltry Pitch Black.

- Barbara Shulgasser, Chicago Tribune, Saturday, January 1, 2000

Rotten: ...your typical run-for-your-life-the-monsters-are-coming science fiction adventure that requires one to park his brain at the front door of the theater before entering.

- Blake French,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

2 stars

Low budget sci-fi with lotsa CGI about surviving the threat of bloodthirsty creatures that only live in the dark ... and the planet we just crashlanded on is due for a four day eclipse. Luckily Vin Diesel (thief, brigand, murderer, guy w/o a shirt) crashlanded in the same spaceship, known far and wide for his acts of brotherly love and itchin' to be helpful. This ain't so bad, a cold steal from Alien and Aliens, but still not so bad.

- ApeneckFletcher, Monday, May 7, 2012

2 stars

"All you people are so scared of me. Most days I'd take that as a compliment. But it ain't me you gotta worry about now." A group of marooned space travelers struggle for survival on a seemingly lifeless sun-scorched world. REVIEW A space ship carrying a cargo of commercial passengers is forced to crash land on an unidentified planet, which, although there doesn't seem to be a shred of animal life anywhere to be found, still manages to be somehow inhabited by swarms of carnivorous birdlike creatures that only come out at night. Ask not what these animals must feed on when there isn't a crew of fleshy earthlings conveniently placed there for them to nibble on. Such rigorous application of logic is not one of `Pitch Black's strongest selling points. Neither, in fact, is the cast of characters it has managed to assemble for the occasion. Here we have the typical `cross section of humanity' routinely called upon to make its appearance in films of this type. The ship's crew and passengers include two feisty young women, a hardnosed law enforcer (is he really a hero or a man with something to hide?), an effete wine-guzzling coward, an androgynous teenager (the `revelation' involving this character comes as a surprise only to the dimwitted characters in the film), a family of Muslims and a truth-seeing, muscle-bound serial killer who becomes the group's physical and intellectual mainstay. The story, though simpleminded and derivative of any number of other better films, nevertheless, manages to border on the murky and incoherent quite often. We often aren't sure who is doing what or why (though, in all honesty, we don't particularly care either). The special effects are generally sub par for a film of this genre and the only real attempt to create an otherworldly atmosphere consists in applying various types of light filters to the camera lens. Completely lacking in suspense, excitement or originality (although the ending has a slightly unexpected twist), `Pitch Black' is strictly one for the video graveyard.

- LorenzoVonMatterhorn, Tuesday, March 20, 2012

3 stars

Here lies the film that brought the Diesel to the public consciousness. Pitch Black is all about him and the character of Riddick that he so aptly breathes life into. The rest... a typical sci-fi film with nocturnal monsters (looking like something from the Zergs in Star Craft) creating a backdrop for the usual tomfoolery showing that the human survival instinct isn't pretty to watch. There's many a plot hole and some curious impulses by various characters, but at least some of the characters besides Riddick were somewhat well developed (although corny in the case of Radha Mitchell as the junior pilot and only survivor from the crew when their craft is forced to crash onto an unknown planet. Said planet has 3 suns - meaning, like the British Empire, the sun never sets... except every 22 years when there's an eclipse. The 400 lb gorilla in the room is that the "monsters" are nocturnal - uh huh, so they live underground and live off..... oh never mind. Really, the film does use some nice sepia tones to show the harshness of a planet in total sunlight 24/7, and the cgi of the creatures is a cut above your usual "b film", but, while there is a bit of tension built up, the final outcome never seemed in question. I kept thinking of the Agatha Christie novel "Ten Little Indians" where the cast of characters are bumped off one by one. Same here, and really it was a shame to see Claudia Black (she of the great Farscape) bumped off so early. However, all kidding aside, you could do much worse in viewing an action sci-fi type film, and the Diesel carries the goods here - his machismo is apropos to the character as is his particular brand of fatalism. Riddick has been called an "anti-hero" by many, but I continue to find him a man true to his own convictions, and while maybe those convictions aren't all warm and cuddly, they are honest and he's true to them - compare that to the bozos running for political office.

- paulsandberg, Thursday, February 9, 2012