Pitch Black (2000)

Rating: C+

Dir: David Twohy
Star: Radha Mitchell, Vin Diesel. Cole Hauser, Keith David

This is a stripped-to-the-bone, spam-in-space film, without major stars, and equally lacking in pretension: it wants to do nothing more than scare you silly, and does not badly in its chosen speciality. A spaceship crashes on an apparently dead planet, only to find that night is about to fall, as it does every twenty years or so (what are the odds against that?), and that it’s not as dead as it seems. Indeed, this is a real party planet, and they are the vol-au-vents.

To add to their problems, the character best adapted to survive is a psycho killer they’re transporting (Diesel, the voice of The Iron Giant), who has been surgically enhanced to see in the dark. Obviously, there’s not much new here, but Diesel is supremely creepy and sure to go on to greater things. There’s at least one scene which will cause the hairs on your neck to do the macarena, and most of the rest is competent enough to keep your interest at least ticking over. Bear in mind that the title is largely accurate, and its impact will therefore be much reduced on video.