Pitch Black (2000)
A transport ship crashes and leaves its crew stranded on a desert planet inhabited by bloodthirsty creatures that come out during an eclipse.
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 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.
- It's in the distant future (when people traveling to outer space is a thing) and 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 about 40 people on board. As is the norm during space travel, all the people are in cryo-sleep (suspended animation); all except one Riddick who exceptionally is awake. 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. The ship is now descending to the planet surface at extreme speed and Docking pilot Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell) with navigator Greg Owens (Simon Burke) tries to take control. Owen tries to send a distress signal, but communication antenna are damaged (apparently burning in the friction at upper atmosphere). Fry tries to control the descent by jettisoning the aft section, which puts the ship into a roll, as it enters the cloud strata of the planet. She deploys air-brakes, the ship stabilizes from the roll, but still the rear-heavy ship is descending tail-first, so she begins purging the aft sections sequentially. Owen sees the door behind him close and realizes she intends to jettison the passenger cabin as well, and stops her by blocking the airlock. With barely a minute to go, Fry sees the horizon as the ship finally levels. The overloaded air-brakes fail and break the windscreen, and Fry faces the force of air as the ship paces ahead. The ship finally makes a sliding crash landing on the planet, partly guided by the automated program in the ship which has chosen a place to hit that has some oxygen. The impact has broken open the main cabin, scattering objects outside, all along the long trail of impact.
There are about 11 survivors of the crash: Carolyn Fry; William J. Johns (Cole Hauser), who appears to be a cop from his badge; a Muslim "Imam" Abu al-Walid (Keith David) and three young Muslim boys (Ali, Hassan, Suleiman) 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) who has run away from his parents; settlers John 'Zeke' Ezekiel (John Moore) and his partner Sharon 'Shazza' Montgomery (Claudia Black); and Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel), a dangerous "criminal", murderer and feared monster, with unusual eyes- he can see in the dark, but is hurt by daylight, so he wears a protective goggles in daytime.
As dust settles, Fry finds Owens is impaled by a metal shaft. She seeks painkillers from the back, but the back of the cabin is gone. With Owens in terrible pain, Fry orders everyone out of the ship, and alone attends to him as he dies. Riddick has partially got free in the chaos, but is quickly arrested by Johns. Riddick is blindfolded, chained and tied inside the ship, while the rest of the survivors come out of the shipwreck and look around.
They find that the planet is a barren and bright hot desert-scape. In the distance is a low hill, spiked with many spires (chimney-like structures tapering to the top). The compass needle sways rudderlessly, so there is no sense of direction. They can breathe in its air, though breathing is difficult. As Fry joins them outside, they thank her as "captain" for saving their lives from a hopeless situation, but she is unsure having tried to sacrifice them earlier. Some 50 meters away from the main cabin of the wreck-ship, lies the Cargo Hold cabin, where Paris finds his bottles of luxury wine, but they have no water. Imam gives hope- "All deserts have water. It only waits to be found".
Meanwhile, Riddick sitting tied at hands, legs, eyes and mouth, escapes using his extraordinary skills bending his shoulders. There is extreme fear about Ridick among the rest of the survivors, due to his notorious past. Johns has them all pick some weapon from the shipwreck (including some antique weapons of Paris), with the message- Riddick would come back to get things of need, so be ready to kill him or be killed by him. Jack is an exception, as he admires Riddick to the point of idolizing him.
Outside the shipwreck, Zeke, Sazza and Jack make a breather aid, to push oxygen intake on need. Johns scans the horizon with his telescope looking for Riddick. It seems to be late afternoon and sunset would happen soon, so Fry asks Imam to get on searching for water while it's cool enough and before nightfall. That's when they see something stunning in the horizon- there are three suns, promising everlasting daylight! A yellowish pair of suns very close to each other are setting, while a blueish sun is rising in the opposite direction. With no nightfall, they should be able to continue searching- for Riddick and water. Imam takes the blue sunrise as the direction from God to search the blue water. Johns is happy that Riddick won't have the advantage of dark and takes the blue sunrise as the direction to search Riddick (who being comfortable in darkness would have gone opposite of sunset direction). Johns has half the group (Sazza, Paris, Jack, and Zeke with gun) keep vigil at the wreck-ship, warning them to shoot Riddick at sight, otherwise there would be a few silent kills, apparently by Riddick's knife skills.
The remaining group (Imam, his 3 muslim boys, Fry, and Johns with his gun) sets off searching, in/towards the blue sunlight (as the other two suns have set). Johns finds "trees" in his telescope and that means water. However on reaching there, they see it's a huge bone structure, lying along a long channel of giant skeletons of animals. They think it's a mass graveyard/boneyard and wonder- is this whole planet dead and who killed them all?
The dying Owens had uttered "Don't touch that handle" to Fry, apparently referring to the rod piercing his chest, but subconsciously repeating his earlier words to her when she pulled the handle to drop the passenger cabin. Johns who had picked up this hint, now finds Fry alone near the skeleton's shade and confirms with her that she indeed tried to sacrifice the passengers, with the promise that he won't tell anyone. However they are not alone; hiding behind in the shade is Riddick, with his shiv (knife) made of bone. Through their conversation, Riddick has silently cut away, contrary to the monster image of his, a piece of her hair.
Leaving the boneyard, the group continues scouting and walks through a narrow canyon which has many spires at the ridge-tops and a ribcage skeleton making an arcway over the path. Near the end of the canyon they begin to find manmade objects like a solar toy robot, and soon reach a complete human settlement, long abandoned. They find water-related items like jug, moisture-recovery machine, tap, and conclude- there was once water here.
Fry finds a dark room which has an orrery, a mechanical model that shows the motion of the planets around their sun(s). She tries a voice command to switch on the lights, but gets no response, so she opens the windows to let sunlight in, and the solar powered orrery starts running. The model shows that there are 3 suns (two yellowish ones close-by and another bluish one away) and three planets between them. One of the end planets has a Saturn-like-ring and the middle planet apparently is the one where they have landed. Having suns in either side, the planets should get everlasting sunlight, which explains why the rooms don't have any light bulbs. The model has option to set the year which arranges the orbits accordingly. As she exits, she finds to her utter delight, a skiff (small spaceship) at the back of the settlement.
Back at the wreck-ship, Paris, Sazza, and Jack are near the containers, and Zeke is a watchable distance away near the hill, digging a mass grave, all at the same time nervously watching out for Riddick. They mistakenly shoot an unknown man who looked like Riddick, but he was just a survivor of the crash. Zeke's dug grave is amongst a group of spires and when he brings the bodies there to be buried, he sees a hole in the grave. He inspects into the hole and is dragged inside by some unseen force and killed, despite firing his guns. Shazza runs to the place and finds blood everywhere. Also, sitting there is Riddick, knife in hand. As Riddick runs off, Shazza takes him to be Zeke's murderer and they chase him. Johns had heard the gunshot while inspecting the skiff-ship with Fry and had come back. The fleeing Riddick is intercepted by Johns who fights him, tearing off his protective goggles, blinding him with the sun, and he is rechained in the shipwreck.
Fry questions the chained Riddick, who sarcastically confesses, repeating the exaggerated stories about him being whispered around the group who are so fearful of him. When Fry still probes, he replies he is no longer the group's biggest problem, hinting that some unknown creatures killed Zeke and the body may be deeper inside the hole. Fry notices his peculiar shiny eyes and and the fanboy Jack asks how he can see at night. Riddick points at his past where he was kept in prison for years away from daylight and a surgical job which led to those changes. Though Johns warns that Riddick is lying (that something else killed Zeke), Fry begins to believe Riddick and decides to investigate the hole. Tethered by a safety wire to the outside, Fry enters deep inside the tunnel where Zeke disappeared, and finds his severed ankle and boot. She sees several conical openings to the top through which sunlight beams into the cave- those are apparently the inside of the spires they have seen from outside, and the home of the alien inhabitants of the planet. As she finds the aliens lurking there in the shade and making strange sounds, she freaks out screaming and somehow escapes in another hole, helped by the group outside.
Having found bigger problems to handle, Johns unchains Riddick to fight for survival, promising him freedom and under the condition that he won't carry his shiv (knife). The group packs up some belongings and a power cell from the wreck-ship (to test the skiff-ship) and heads to the settlement, a big load on a metal sled being dragged along by Riddick, now part of the group. At the settlement, they try to repair the skiff-ship. Though Paris observes it's very old, Fry thinks if they can adapt its old electrical system to theirs, it will work. Sazza observes it's low capacity (two-seater) and probably cannot go far, but Riddick says even this two-seater can take them to the solar-track shipping lanes from where they can be rescued. Johns stops Riddick from going inside the skiff-ship and diverts him to find materials to repair the wings. Fry manages to power on the skiff-ship for a system check. She calculates they will need five power cells to launch the skiff-ship, as it needs 90 Gig power and each cell is of 20 Gig. They need to fetch four more cells from the wreck-ship, each cell being 35 kg. There is a solar-powered sandcat vehicle at the settlement, which Shazza repairs so as to carry the heavy load.
Elsewhere in the settlement, the moisture machine has been repaired and Imam and his boys are overjoyed as water drops from the tap there. Jack has found a shaving tool, shaves his head and dons a pair of goggles in emulation of his idol Riddick. Riddick explores around and finds one Coring Room which strangely is chain-locked from the inside. Jack along with a muslim boy Ali have playfully followed him there, Jack hiding on top of the room and Ali sneaking inside the room. Riddick and Jack come back from there as the group is having a "party", apparently celebrating the new found water. At the gathering the group discusses the many items left behind at the settlement. They reckon that its former residents were geologists, but wonder why they left the planet and left behind those many items, including the skiff-ship. While Others try to rationalize, Fry doubts, and Riddick states baldly that the former occupants are all dead, and by the same creatures who killed Zeke.
All this while Ali is still in the nearly dark Coring room, which unfortunately has Alien birds nesting near its ceiling. Riddick had unknowingly uncovered the solar equipments at its roof and slowly an automatic shutter opens, leading sunlight in. As light falls on the nest, hundreds of bat-like Alien birds (apparently young, not fully grown ones) fly around screeching. Ali in panic runs into another dark room inside, as do the birds. Hearing his screams, the others come and break open the Coring room. When they open its inner room, the flock of flying creatures come out and quickly fly down into the coring shaft, apparently avoiding light in the room. 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 through some gaps. Shazza offers Riddick her breather, trying to apologize for thinking he killed Zeke.
Fry finds a coring sample dated 22 years ago, of same month as now. She returns to the planets model and flips through the year setting. They realize that every 22 years there is a total eclipse, as all the 3 planets and the suns on either side align, thus 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.
Fry and others rush on their plan to bring the power cells from the wreck-ship to the skiff-ship, repair the wings and fly out of the planet, all in time before darkness falls (though nobody knows exactly when that will happen). Johns warns against that, telling Fry that Riddick escaped the last time by flying a ship and killing the pilot, so they must not fetch the power cells to the skiff-ship until the last minute, lest Riddick does it again. Fry is rather happy that in Riddick they have another person to pilot a spaceship. Soon Riddick gets Fry alone inside the skiff-ship and contrary to her fear and imagination, rather gives his version of things- his promised freedom, that Johns is not a cop but a bounty hunter, and hints about Johns' drug problem.
Fry 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 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 how he takes care of himself, drugs or not, is none of her business and she should rather look to herself (hinting at how selfish she was during crash and she is hiding it and deciding the actions of the group who now think her as the captain).
They come out to see that the yellow suns have risen (the blue sun apparently has set), but also, the ring of the other planet appears on the horizon and the massive planet is about to eclipse all sunlight. They hurriedly ride the sandcat vehicle back from the settlement through the canyon back to the wreck-ship and load the power cells on the sled to be dragged. Darkness falls rather quickly, rendering the solar-powered vehicle useless, before they could go back to skiff-ship. The rings of the planet cover one sun, then the other sun, and finally the body of the planet covers both the suns, thus transitioning from gloomy sunlight to twilight to pitch black. In the twilight they hear growing squealing sound from the spires and soon see thousands of the mid-sized young aliens flying up into the sky. The men flee to the shelter of the cargo hold cabin (as the main cabin is half open), but Shazza and Riddick fall behind and have to drop to the ground as a torrent of flying creatures passes over. Shazza panics, tries to make a run for it, but is quickly torn in pieces and then carried off in air. Riddick survives by laying low until the flock flies off. Riddick now removes his goggles and watches in his eyes the distant darkness as the spires break and fully grown alien birds emerge.
As they explore inside the cargo hold, which has now become a prison for them, the aliens' sound and wall-piercing blades drive them further and further in. Riddick finds a big alien eating a smaller one in the dark corner of the room, which is when Hassan stumbles in there and both try to stand still, hiding. But when multiple big aliens sit close-by and bring out their scythe-blades from near their sharp claws, Hassan runs in fear and is killed. Riddick runs off towards the rest of the group who put lights that way and Riddick howls away from the light in his face, and so does the alien behind him. Johns shoots down an alien, and they see that light actually burns their flesh which explains the creatures' light-aversion. The creature has vertical curved bone-blades on the skull, mouth with teeth for eating and probably smelling, two long horizontal bone-ears, fleshy body, bird-like claws, scythe-blades that emerge from its sole, wings supporting limited flight, and has no eyes (consistent with the nature of their totally dark environment). It locates an object by sending sound through mouth, receiving the echo through the ears, and imaging the sound.
Johns thinks the darkness should be over soon, but Imam reminds: the planets in the model were moving as one during the eclipse, so there would be a lasting darkness. Fry wants to stick to the plan- move with the cells to the skiff-ship and fly off this planet. Since the aliens fear light, Fry suggests they use light as cover while moving in the dark. Johns calls that a mass suicide and would rather wait for the suns to rise again, but Fry points out that strategy did not work for the geologists hiding in the coring shaft. Fry and Johns' argument ends in heated and hateful barbs at each other. The rest of the group take her as captain to be followed, but who can find the correct path in the dark (even though they have seen the path: wreck-ship to open-ground to boneyard to canyon to skiff-ship)? Suddenly Riddick is their means of survival- Fry decides Riddick would lead them with his night vision. They move to the main cabin of the wreck-ship, ready the sled with the 4 cells, and bring as much light as possible, including flares, cutting torch, bottles of inflammable spirit, and glow tubes connected to a central machine. Riddick cautions them: avoid bloody cuts as the aliens have an acute sense of smell for the blood. Jack is particularly alarmed at this, the reason for which is revealed later. Finally they head out in the dark, Riddick leading them with a flashlight at his back and darkness in his front and... several alien creatures following them and keeping in the shadows away from the light.
Paris drops a flashlight and Jack leaves the sled to get it, sparking an alien attack. Jack is saved, but Paris 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, watched on by Riddick, who then notices that Jack is a preferred target of those creatures. They continue walking with flares and other lights, but the road seems endless. They find that they have crossed their own tracks, and angrily ask where Riddick is taking them in the dark. Riddick replies he took an extra round as he needed time to think because a death row in the form of the canyon is ahead and because "the girl" is bleeding. The group is stunned to discover that "Jack" is a girl masquerading as a boy to protect herself and is "bleeding". Their earlier passage through the canyon had shown the walls to be full of spires at top, implying a den of the alien predators, so a bloody girl there with nowhere to escape should be a death row, given the aliens' sense for blood. Fry 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 skiff-ship.
They now move in the boneyard, with Johns and Riddick walking ahead of the rest. To survive the canyon ahead, Johns proposes "sacrifice one to save many": let Riddick kill "Jack", to be dragged some feet behind the sled, as a bloody bait for the aliens. Riddick is angry at his thought process and fights Johns aiming to kill. Fry (who had already been suspicious and kept more distance) and others run back in panic, as the fight continues. Riddick cuts John's back with his knife, then merges into darkness as Johns' light on the floor goes out. Johns' readies his gun while his bleeding wounds and movement draw aliens, and his gun fails him as he is stabbed by an alien and eaten. Riddick rejoins the group who are running back to the wreck-ship (but without direction thus burning up their light) and refocuses them to walk towards skiff-ship. When they mourn hearing Johns' death, Riddick slams that, hinting at the kind of thoughts reciprocated for them by Johns.
In the boneyard, Riddick finds an alien predator's skeleton, studies its strengths and weaknesses and realizes the alien has a blind spot at the center, in between its two bone-ears. Then Imam joins him and preaches about believing in God, and Riddick hints at his tortured life in past, which is why he believes in God... and absolutely hates Him.
About to enter the canyon, they see it's indeed a death row with narrow path, high walls filled with aliens and their sounds all around. As they hesitate, Riddick asks them to see only one way, the way to go off this planet. Riddick takes the power cells, either a desperate life-saving strategy to enable others to run fast, or a plan to fly off the planet alone as Johns predicted. Riddick puts on his goggles- either he expects the light in his face as the others should run faster, or he does not want to see the dangers of the dark but only the way out. Finally, all of them run for their lives through the canyon, with Riddick dragging alone the 4 power cells tied together and keeping pace with the others. As they run, a torrent of mid-sized aliens come flying towards them and quickly go over due to the lights. Now they see aliens fighting each other overhead in midair, apparently showing cannibalism from years of hunger. Dead and half-dead aliens and their blue fluid drops down on ground and they try to run through those. The last muslim boy gets a bloody leg as one of the fallen aliens grabs his foot. Riddick keeps walking as if he is abandoning them, but "Jack" is attacked by an alien and Riddick turns back to fight the alien hand to hand (apparently blocking its scythe blade at the feet), cuts its flesh with his knife and finally kills 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 of water. 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 Fry, "Jack" and the Imam inside, but then closes the opening, himself moving on.
"Jack" worries that Riddick is leaving them, since he has the power cells and the skiff-ship just after the canyon. Soon all their light goes out in the cave, and they find glowing slugs on the cave walls, and fill their empty bottles with those to make lamps. Fry leaves the cave with a lamp and heads for the skiff-ship. Riddick is there 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 skiff-ship 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 Fry 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 skiff-ship 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 skiff-ship, thinking him dead, but then they hear him yell. As Fry 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 skiff-ship, 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 lets out 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 skiff-ship 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 skiff-ship from all sides. He now powers up the skiff-ship'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.