Pitch Black (2000) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A commercial transport ship and its crew are marooned on a planet full of bloodthirsty creatures that only come out to feast at night. But then, they learn that a month-long eclipse is about to occur.

  • The space transport vessel "Hunter-Gratzner" carrying 40 people on-board crashes on a desert planet when the ship is struck in a meteor storm. There are only 11 survivors, among them are pilot Carolyn Fry (Who has assumed command after the ship's captain is killed), bounty hunter William J. Johns, religious man Abu Al-Walid, Antiques dealer Paris P. Ogilvie, runaway teenager Jack, settlers John 'Zeke' Ezekiel and his lover Sharon 'Shazza' Montgomery, and Richard B. Riddick, a dangerous escaped convict. Marooned, the survivors discover the barren and hot desert-scape has sunlight from three suns. Not only must they find food and water and worry about Riddick, the survivors find themselves being hunted by the planet's flesh-eating alien inhabitants when the planet is engulfed in darkness, which happens every 22 years, as they emerge from underground to hunt and eat all signs of life. Fry and the survivors find Riddick is their best chance of survival, as Riddick has surgically-enhanced eyes that allow him to see in the dark as they set out to find a way of escaping from the planet and getting to an escape shuttle, before they all get eaten by the creatures on the surface.

  • When the transport ship "Hunter-Gratzner" is hit by a meteor shower, the pilot Carolyn Fry is awaken from the cryogenic sleep and tries to control the vessel with forty passengers. She is forced to release a module and only Carolyn; the bounty hunter William J. Johns; the religious Abu "Imam" al-Walid; the dealer Paris P. Ogilvie; Sharon 'Shazza' Montgomery; the runaway teenager Jack; John 'Zeke' Ezekiel; Suleiman; Hassan); Ali; and the dangerous criminal Richard B. Riddick survive. Riddick escapes and Johns scares the survivors telling how dangerous he is. The group is stranded in the desert and find that place is heated by three suns and they team-up to seek for water and supplies. Soon they discover that there are under siege of flesh eating aliens that attack in the darkness; further, the planet will be pitch black with a total eclipse. They conclude that it is not with Riddick that they have to be worried about.

  • Set in the distant future, a spaceship carrying some 40 people, mostly ones wanting to settle on other planets from their own, hits a meteor shower and crash lands on a distant planet killing all but twelve of them. The survivors, led by the second-in-command Carolyn Fry ('Rahda Mitchell' ), find themselves on a hot and arid landscape with constant sunlight from three orbiting suns. Fry not only must help the survivors find food and water, but contend with a deadly criminal, named Riddick (Vin Diesel), who was being transported to a prison cell on their destination. But every 22 years, the planet's three suns go into a total eclipse for a month where darkness brings out the planet's real inhabitants; large, reptilian, vampire-like creatures that come out and dominate the surface in total darkness, killing and eating all life. The Fry and her people then must cooperate with Riddick, who has surgically enhanced eyes to see in darkness, to lead them to safety and off the planet before they all become dinner for the creatures.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The story is happening in the distant future, when people traveling to outer space is a thing.

    In another part of the galaxy away from earth, the space transport ship "Hunter-Gratzner" is sailing in its designated lane (marked by stars), carrying 40 people on board in cryo-sleep (suspended animation). Twenty two weeks into its journey and several weeks away from next stop, accident strikes as debris from possibly a rogue comet or a meteor storm hits the ship and pierces the ship's hull. It wakes up the crew, kills the captain, and the ship is knocked into the atmosphere of a nearby planet, thus kicking in gravity. Docking pilot Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell) tries to send message for help but their communication is damaged. The ship is now descending to the planet surface at extreme speed and she tries to control the descent, but the rear-heavy craft will not stabilize. She begins jettisoning aft sections sequentially, and navigator Greg Owens (Simon Burke) realizes she intends to jettison the passenger cabin as well and stops her by blocking the airlock. The ship finally makes a sliding crash landing on the planet, partly guided by the crisis program in the ship which chooses a place to hit that has some oxygen.

    There are about 11 survivors of the crash: Carolyn Fry; William J. Johns (Cole Hauser), apparently a cop, but actually a bounty hunter; a Muslim "Imam" Abu al-Walid (Keith David) and three young Muslim men he is escorting on hajj (a religious pilgrimage) to the planet New Mecca; antiques dealer Paris P. Ogilvie (Lewis Fitz-Gerald); stowaway teenager Jack (Rhianna Griffith); settlers John 'Zeke' Ezekiel (John Moore) and his partner Sharon 'Shazza' Montgomery (Claudia Black); and Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel), a dangerous "criminal" and feared murderer, who has some special abilities, as he can see in the dark, but is hurt by daylight, so he wears a protective goggles in daytime.

    As dust settles, Carolyn finds Owens is impaled by a metal shaft. She seeks painkillers from the medical kit, but those are missing. With Owens in terrible pain, Carolyn orders everyone out of the ship, and alone attends to him as he dies. Johns has been attacked by Riddick in the chaos, but quickly captures him. Riddick is blindfolded, chained and tied inside the ship, while the rest of the survivors come out of the shipreck and look around.

    They find that the planet is a barren and hot desert-scape lit by three suns, promising everlasting daylight. They can breathe in its air, though breathing is difficult. As Carolyn joins them outside, they thank her for saving their lives from a hopeless situation, but she is unsure having tried to sacrifice them earlier. They search around hoping for water, with Imam saying- "All deserts have water. It only waits to be found". However, what looked like trees in the distant, turns out to be a long graveyard of giant skeletons of animals. They begin to wonder- are all lives on this planet dead?

    Meanwhile, Riddick has managed to escape, showing extraordinary skills bending his hand and shoulders. There is extreme fear about Ridick among the rest of the survivors, due to his notorious past. Jack is an exception, as he admires him to the point of idolizing him.

    The dying Owens had uttered "Don't touch that handle" to Carolyn, apparently referring to the metal piercing his chest, but probably subconsciously repeating his earlier words to her when she tried to sacrifice the passenger cabin. Johns has picked up this hint and confirms with Carolyn.

    They find a small settlement, clearly abandoned by humans. Carolyn finds a model of the planet's solar system, and to their delight, a small shuttle spacecraft. The planet model shows that there are 3 suns (two of them closeby and another away) and three planets between them, the middle one apparently is the one where they have landed. Having suns in either side, the planets should get everlasting sunlight. The model has option to set the year manually.

    Back at the ship, the nervous group is looking out for Riddick and they mistakenly kill a survivor who looked like him. When Zeke is burying the body near a hole, he is dragged into the tunnel by some unseen force. Shazza runs to the place and finds blood everywhere. Also, sitting there is Riddick, knife in hand, googles in eyes. As Riddick walks off, Shazza takes him to be Zeke's murderer and they chase him. Johns fights him, tearing off his protective goggles, blinding him with the sun, and he is rechained.

    Carolyn questions the chained Riddick, who says he is no longer the group's biggest problem, hinting that some unknown creatures killed Zeke. As the admiring Jack asks him how he got those shiny night-vision eyes, Riddick points at his past where he was kept away from daylight and a surgical job which led to those changes. Though Johns warns that Riddick is lying (that he didn't kill Zeke), Carolyn begins to believe Riddick and decides to investigate the tunnel. Tethered by a safety wire to the outside, Carolyn enters deep inside the tunnel where Zeke disappeared, and finds his severed ankle and boot. As she finds the planet's alien inhabitants lurking there in the shade, she freaks out screaming and somehow escapes in another hole, helped by the group.

    Having found bigger problems to handle, Johns decides to unchain Riddick to fight for survival, promising him freedom. The group packs up some belongings and heads to the settlement, bringing along a power cell from the wreckage for testing the shuttle, while Riddick hauls a sled. At the settlement Carolyn calculates they will need five more power cells to operate the small shuttle. Shazza offers to repair the solar-powered sandcat to carry the heavy cells. Johns asks Riddick to repair the wings. Imam and his boys find water from pipe engineered from underground. Jack finds a shaving tool and shaves his head and dons a pair of goggles in emulation of his idol, Riddick.

    They reckon that the settlement's former residents were geologists who left the planet. They try to rationalize the many items left behind, but Riddick states baldly that the former occupants are all dead. One of the young pilgrims enters a room and stirs up a nest of the aliens. Hearing his screams, the adults come and startle the flock of flying creatures who fly down into the coring shaft. They find and bury the boy's body. They throw a flare light down into the coring shaft to see what's in there and find huge number of human skulls and skeletons. Riddick explains- the geologists had hid there thinking it to be safe but were killed by the flying aliens from top. Shazza tries to apologize to Riddick for thinking he killed Zeke.

    Carolyn finds a coring sample dated 22 years ago, same month as now. She returns to the solar system model and sets the year back 22 years there. They realize that every 22 years there is a total eclipse, as all the 3 planets and the suns on either side come in one straight line, plunging the middle planet into complete darkness. Not only that, the 3 planets then move as one for some time, thus the eclipse should last for a prolonged period of days or months.

    Carolyn and others rush on their plan to bring the power cells from the wrecked ship to the shuttle, repair the wings and fly out of the planet, all in time before darkness falls. Johns warns against that, telling Carolyn that Riddick escaped the last time by flying a ship and killing the pilot, so they must not fetch the power cells to the shuttle until the last minute, lest Riddick does it again. Carolyn is rather happy that in Riddick they have another person to pilot a ship. Soon Riddick gets Carolyn alone and gives his version of things, his promised freedom, and tells that Johns is a bounty hunter and not a cop, and hints about Johns' drug problem.

    Carolyn confronts Johns about the new finding about him and he admits he isn't a cop. She finds Johns shooting morphine into his eyeball and has a stash of morphine and is angry that he didn't give those painkillers when Owen was dying painfully. She wonders what else is Johns is hiding and whether he can be trusted to decide the actions for the group. He shows her the wounds he received from Riddick and asserts that caring for self above others is normal and how he takes care of himself is none of her business.

    They see that the suns are actually going down. They ride the sandcat vehicle back to the crashed ship and load the power cells on it. Darkness falls rather quickly, rendering the solar-powered vehicle useless. In the twilight they can see thousands of the aliens flying up into the sky. The passengers flee to the shelter of the ship, but Shazza and Riddick have to drop to the ground before reaching the ship due to the flying creatures. Shazza panics, and is torn in two and then carried off by the flying creatures when she tries to make a run for it. Riddick survives by laying low until the flock flies off.

    As they explore inside the ship, which has now become a prison for them, Riddick finds aliens inside as well. Another young pilgrim stumbles into the room, runs in fear and dies. Johns shoots down an alien, and they realize that the creatures' light-aversion is due to the fact that light actually burns their skin. They have no eyes and two long horizontal antennas- they see by sending sound through mouth and receiving the return.

    Johns thinks the darkness should be over soon. Imam reminds the planets in the model were moving as one during eclipse, so there would be a lasting darkness. Carolyn wants to stick to the plan- move with the cells to the shuttle and fly off this planet. Since the aliens avoid light, Carolyn suggests they use light as cover and move to the shuttle in the dark, while Johns would rather wait for the suns to rise again. Carolyn points out that strategy did not work for the geologists hiding in the coring shaft. Carolyn and Johns exchange heated and hateful barbs at each other, which ends when Riddick intervenes. She decides Riddick can lead them with his night vision. Bringing as much light as possible, including flares, a cutting torch, 10 bottles of inflammable spirit, and glow tubes connected to a central machine on a sled, they head out... with several alien creatures following them and keeping in the shadows away from the light.

    Jack drops a flashlight and leaves the sled to get it, sparking an alien attack. Jack is saved, but Ogilvie panics and crawls away, breaking the entire glow tube system and quickly his lights go out and he is stabbed by an alien. As he puts to flame his last sip of wine, the terrifying sight of surrounding aliens flashes for a moment. The aliens hungrily feast on him in the dark, though none but Riddick can watch it. They continue on, but when they find that they have crossed their own tracks, they demand to know where Riddick is taking them in the dark. Riddick states he took an extra round as he needed time to think due to a canyon ahead, and because "the girl" is bleeding, given that the aliens have an acute sense of smell for the blood. The group is stunned to discover that "Jack" is a girl masquerading as a boy to protect herself and is "bleeding". Carolyn now realizes the mortal danger they are in now and ahead, with the destination a couple of hundred meters away, and says they should go back to the ship. Johns slaps away her suggestion, recalling her earlier remarks and revealing to the rest her attempts to sacrifice the passenger cabin. The light moves forward- to the settlement.

    As Johns and Riddick walk ahead of the group, Johns proposes to sacrifice one to save many in the dangerous canyon ahead and asks Riddick to kill "Jack" to be a bloody bait saving the rest of the group. Riddick is angry at that and fights John, and the rest leave the sled for cover. The fight continues and Riddick cuts John's back with his knife then merges into darkness as the light goes out. Johns' bleeding wounds and movement draw an alien, and despite having guns at ready, he is stabbed and eaten. Riddick rejoins the group who mourn hearing Johns is dead, but Riddick slams that, hinting at the kind of thoughts Johns reciprocated for them.

    Riddick studies an alien skeleton and realizes they have a blind spot at the center of the alien's head, being equidistant from the two sidewise antenna bones. The Imam joins Riddick and preaches about believing in God, and Riddick explains that he believes in God... and absolutely hates Him.

    Riddick ties the power cells together to prepare to run the gauntlet through the canyon. As they run, they see aliens fighting each other overhead in midair, apparently showing cannibalism from years of starvation, and blue fluid drips down on them from the wound aliens. The last boy pilgrim gets hurt, earning a bloody leg. Riddick keeps walking as if he is abandoning them, but "Jack" is attacked by an alien and Riddick turns back to save her, fighting it hand to hand, cutting its flesh with his knife and finally killing it.

    Suddenly it starts to rain, perhaps indicating the cycle of life in the planet- years of heat followed by night's cool and rains. The rain threatens what little light they have left. As they look for cover, the last boy pilgrim is snatched by the aliens. Riddick finds a cave for them to hide in, and sends Carolyn, "Jack" and the Imam inside, but then closes the opening with a boulder, himself moving on.

    Jack worries that Riddick is leaving them, since he has the power cells and the shuttle. They find glowing slugs on the cave walls, and fill their empty bottles with them to make lamps. Carolyn leaves the cave with a lamp and heads for the shuttle. Riddick there is on the pilot seat, preparing to launch, leaving the rest to their fate. He opens the door for her, and she invites him to go back together to bring Imam and "Jack" back. Riddick, instead, persuades her to get on the shuttle and leave with him, abandoning the rest. She cries, with visions of the passengers on the ship during the crash flashing in her mind. She attacks Riddick and insists they go back for "Jack" and the Imam. He holds a knife to her neck and asks if she would die for them, and, to his bemusement, she confidently says yes.

    Back at the cave, "Jack" and Imam find the rock at the opening moving aside and it's a moment of joy and relief for them when they find Carolyn and Riddick there. All four run to the settlement, but multiple aliens are in the way. They run through them and Riddick sends the rest ahead, himself lagging behind to absorb the attack. The three reach the shuttle and Riddick too manages to reach close, but an alien suddenly blocks his way between the buildings. Riddick smartly sways back and forth with it, staying in its blind spot. Unfortunately, as he draws away, a second alien appears behind him and he is "visible". The others have hesitated at the shuttle, thinking him dead, but then they hear him yell. As Carolyn rushes towards the sound, Riddick drops down on the ground in front of her, bloody, wounded, gasping, but still clutching his knife. She tries to lift him to his feet, to get to the shuttle, but he is too big and heavy. She says "I said I'd die for them, not you." He is finally vertical when she is suddenly stabbed from behind by an alien, then pulled away into the air as it flies away with her. He collapses to the ground and shouts in pain- "Not for me".

    Imam and "Jack" chat as Riddick takes the pilot seat, turns on the switches, powers up the engines, getting the shuttle ready to go. Surprisingly, he shuts the switches back to off, making the others restless for take off and relief. Quickly, the aliens are drawn to the now-dark area, menacing the shuttle from all sides. He now powers up the shuttle's engines again and they take off. His "parting goodnight" for those inhabitants of the planet is a deadly blow- the bright light and the force of the engines kills the surrounding aliens all around them as they exit the atmosphere. In space, the three survivors; the Imam, "Jack" and Riddick, are relieved that their ordeal is over and watch the darkness give way to sunlight. "Jack" asks Riddick what they should tell the authorities about him when they are questioned. He tells her- "Riddick is dead, he died somewhere on the planet", implying his transformation back to a caring human heart.

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