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
    57%
  • Audience Score
    77%

common sense

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

    57%
    reviews counted: 29
    see all Pitch Black reviews
  • Audience

    77%

Top Critic Reviews

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

- Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com, 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, Filmcritic.com, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

The magic of Vin Diesel and the movie that catapulted him into an action star. This is incredibly corny and typical of late 90s-early 00s, very stylized and outrageous by today's standards. The CGI is utterly terrible, but that doesn't matter one bit when you have Riddick annihilating aliens barehanded and churning out hilarious one-liners. He manages to bamboozle everyone and become the victor, escaping punishment. He has the strength of a shaved ape and the intelligence of a scientist.

- ythelastman89, Monday, October 4, 2010

4 stars

The magic of Vin Diesel and the movie that catapulted him into an action star. This is incredibly corny and typical of late 90s-early 00s, very stylized and outrageous by today's standards. The CGI is utterly terrible, but that doesn't matter one bit when you have Riddick annihilating aliens barehanded and churning out hilarious one-liners. He manages to bamboozle everyone and become the victor, escaping punishment. He has the strength of a shaved ape and the intelligence of a scientist.

- ythelastman89, Monday, October 4, 2010

4 stars

"Finally found something worse than me, huh?." I'm somewhat of a rabid Radha Mitchell fan (the woman is gorgeous and talented; she should be a much bigger star), so seeing her in a solid, gritty sci-fi/horror flick like this is a pretty good use of two hours for me. The basic story is about a transport ship (piloted by Mitchell's character) that is forced to crash land on an unknown planet. A planet that happens to be inhabited by deadly, light- sensitive predators that come out to feast every twenty-two years when a cosmic event shields the planet from its three suns for a time. One of the passengers of the ship also happens to be a deadly, light-sensitive predator (Vin Diesel) on his way back to the maximum-security prison world that he escaped from. The rest of the crash survivors are forced to rely on Riddick because of his ability to see in the dark and his natural survival instincts, but will he ultimately help them escape, or leave them to their dark fates? Pitch Black isn't perfect. There are a few rather large plot holes (What do the beasts do for the rest of the twenty-two years, just hang out? And what do they live off of on such a barren planet?), but nothing that really took me out of the story. Some of the characters are overly dumb, annoying, or inexplicably antagonistic, but such story devices and character archetypes come along with the genre, more often than not. The special effects and monster designs do look their age, but that can be forgiven in a movie that's more than eleven years old, and they're really not any worse than what you'd see today on the average made-for-TV sci-fi flick. On the other hand, the filmmakers did do a good job of using visual trickery to make the outback of Australia where the movie was filmed look a lot like a harsh, alien world, and on a small budget I'm assuming. So they get props for that. As for what I liked about Pitch Black, it was a pretty entertaining ride. Mitchell was great as the flawed, conflicted pilot unceremoniously promoted to leader, and Diesel was well- suited for Riddick, who's really the main character of the movie. There are likable characters to get attached to and fear for, several tense situations (though calling the movie scary would be a stretch), and a solid amount of action. All in all, Pitch Black was a pleasant surprise. I was more impressed with Diesel than I've been at any other movie of his that I've seen, and none of the lesser elements of the movie are significant enough to stand out much. Recommended.

- lewiskendell, Friday, September 24, 2010