In the not-too-distant future, a docking pilot makes a forced crash-landing of her spacecraft on a distant planet. Her crew is killed, even as some of the passengers escape. A lawman is unharmed but so is his prisoner, a convicted murderer. As the survivors explore the uncomfortably hot planet, they must band together. The planet is eerie, arid, and lifeless. but as the sun sets and the planet plunges into total darkness, other inhabitants emerge.
This snazzily designed, crisply paced sci-fi horror film follows the survivors of a crash-landing on a distant planet as they fight off swarms of bat-type carnivores who streak out of the ground after a solar eclipse plunges the desertlike outpost into total darkness. Although the lighting never gets as pitch dark as the title implies, the movie is scary enough to make you remember when you needed a night light to get to sleep. And Vin Diesel, as a hulking, thuggish convicted murderer who turns out not to be as evil as he first appears, demonstrates major action-hero potential. — Stephen Holden
2000-02-18 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of Pitch Black