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"All you people are so scared of me. Most days I'd take that as a compliment. But it ain't me you gotta worry about now."

In the 27th century, the Hunter-Gratzner, with its crew and passengers in stasis pods, passes through the debris of a comet. The resulting damage badly cripples the ship, kills some of its crew and eventually causes it to crash land on a nearby planet. The remaining survivors find themselves in a harsh, barren landscape with constant daylight due to its three suns. A bounty hunter, William J. Johns, informs them that one of the passengers was a dangerous criminal named Riddick, and worse still, he’s managed to escape during the crash.

After a member of the group is killed investigating a cave, he’s the natural suspect and when eventually captured is kept under close watch. However, it soon becomes clear that not only is Riddick the least of their worries, they may actually need his help to survive.

Considered the breakthrough performance of Vin Diesel, the movie was a sleeper hit despite its modest budget and was deemed successful enough to have a big budget sequel, which became The Chronicles of Riddick.

Pitch Black contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Carolyn Fry
  • Alien Sky: Three suns and an eclipsing planet featuring TWO separate ring systems. Skies don't get much more alien than that.
  • And This Is For: Riddick cuts off all the lights on the ship prior to taking off, because he wants to kill as many of the creatures as possible when they gather around the ship. It's implied it's in honor of Fry.

 Riddick: We can't leave... (Beat) without saying good night. (FWOOSH)

  • The Atoner: Fry. At the beginning of the movie she tries to sacrifice her crew to save herself (earning herself a What the Hell, Hero? because the captain is supposed to be the last to be saved in a crisis). At the climax, she tells Riddick that she would die for them, and, as it turns out, Riddick, whom she runs back to help. Then almost immediately, she dies saving Riddick, who is distraught, crying out "Not for me. Not for ME!"
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Johns and Riddick (briefly).
  • Bittersweet Ending: Carolyn dies after getting Imam and Jack to the ship but goes back to help the injured Riddick.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted, as the "black dude" is one of the few surviving characters. Could also be an inversion here, since the "black dude" survives yet every last one of the Arabic characters with lighter complexions died, including the youngster Ali . . . so BROWN Dude Dies First?
  • Bond One-Liner:
    • (Riddick throws someone into the Demon-filled Darkness): "One rule: Stay in the light."
    • (Riddick disembowels an alien): "Did not know what he was fucking with."
  • Booze Flamethrower: One of the protagonists is caught in the dark with a guttering torch and a bottle of expensive spirits. He takes a big swig and blows a huge fireball, illuminating the HUNDREDS of dark-loving beasties surrounding him just before the torch goes out and... crunch crunch crunch...
  • Chiaroscuro: The entire second half of the film.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Averted; Riddick can kill one creature just fine, but two of them damn near kill him (though he managed to slaughter both despite his injuries).
  • Conveniently Close Planet: It's a good thing the interstellar freighter which was TWENTY-TWO MONTHS out from its port was passing so close to an inhabitable moon when the artificial pilot malfunctioned, isn't it?
    • A) Particularly at the time of the eclipse that happens every, what? 23 years? which leads to B) Depends on what you're calling 'inhabitable'.
      • Auto Pilot didn't fail so much as detected chunks of rock piercing the hull. Rocks tend to gather together in space, around things like planets. After 22 months, you'd think even a small miscalculation could make a big mistake, aside from space being really empty aside from some particularly dangerous parts you'd want to avoid.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Riddick pulls a magnificent example with Carolyn at the end by coaxing her to leave Imam and Jack behind to come with him instead. She literally breaks down in front of him, unable to move from the spot in front of the ship, and he even helps her onto the platform with soft, encouraging words. One would think he's nothing but a Magnificent Bastard but it's clear that he actually does like Carolyn in his own way and seems to find her interesting whether she's noble or not.
  • Death Seeker: Subtly hinted at with Riddick. That trait is ditched in later incarnations.
  • Decoy Protagonist:Carolyn
  • Does That Sound Like Fun to You??: Riddick gives this speech to Jack after she asks about his eyes. It's subverted in The Chronicles of Riddick when she finds out he was pulling her leg.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Paris. He drinks some wine, then breathes on his lighter to make it flare up, as one last "fuck you" to the creatures before they tear him apart.
  • Endless Daytime: The planet the protagonists crashland on orbits three suns, such that it is always sunlight except once every 22 years, when the three suns line up and are simultaneously eclipsed.
  • Eye Scream: Johns shoots morphine by injecting itinto his tear ducts.
  • Fantastic Light Source: The glowing leeches at the end.
  • The Future Is Noir: Pitch Black is hard-boiled fiction, kind of like Blade Runner or Stuck with Hannibal Lecter in space! with evil Aliens!.
  • Ghost Planet
  • Groin Attack: Threatened, but not carried out. ‘’tap tap tap tap...’’
  • Heroic BSOD: Fry, when Riddick offers to betray the others.
  • Hope Spot: The crash survivors searching for water think they see some trees on a hill. Then they crest the hill and find an graveyard for gigantic, slug-like extraterrestrial beasts.
  • Ironic Echo: In a way, the scenes at the skiff. Riddick tries to convince Carolyn to abandon Imam and Jack. Once she forces him to go back for them and they've returned to the skiff, it's Imam and Jack who quietly urge Carolyn to leave the fallen-behind Riddick.
  • Live Action Escort Mission: The second half of the film.
  • Men Don't Cry: Carolyn's death is the only time Riddick shows tears.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. Riddick claims the reason the creatures are hunting them so doggedly is because Jack is "bleeding".
  • Redemption Equals Death: This almost happened to Riddick. In the original script, Riddick was supposed to die instead of Fry. Executive Meddling put a stop to that, since The Chronicles of Carolyn Fry would not have made for a decent sequel.
    • Keep in mind, it was redemption for Carolyn, since she almost sacrificed her crew to save herself at the start of the film.
      • Also a sort of case of Death Equals Redemption in that it's implied somewhat that Carolyn's death is what pushed Riddick much further in the Anti-Hero direction.
  • Ribcage Ridge
  • Riddick Is About To Shoot You: Some posters and DVD covers. Rather odd, considering he doesn't wield a handgun at any point in the film, and the only firearm he ever carried was the one he took from Johns when he released him and gave back barely a minute later.
  • Secret Test of Character: Debateable if Riddick is giving one to Fry with his offer.
  • Sherlock Scan: Riddick spends the first half of the movie doing nothing but this, first predicting the types of people on the ship, then accurately describing just how the original inhabitants of the moon didn't make it offworld.
      • He is also able to deduce that the creatures have a blind spot from analyzing a dead one.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Jack, aka Kyra, though more to the characters than the audience.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Riddick and Fry, overlapping with Foe Yay.
  • Weakened by the Light: The creatures are actually ‘’burned’’ by any exposure to light. Additionally, Riddick's eyeshine treatment leaves him easily blinded by bright lights.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Both literally and figuratively (it is essentially the premise, after all). After ditching the last of the survivors and reaching the shuttle alone, Riddick offers Carolyn Fry (who had tried to jettison the passenger pods during the crash to save herself and the rest of the crew) the chance to go with him when she catches up. It's fairly clear he's attracted to her and is actually being really nice about it (by his standards), warning her firmly that if she doesn't come with him, he'll leave her behind. He tells her to just leave the remaining survivors in the cave, telling her "no one would blame you", even helping her up the ramp with child-like encouragements. She almost goes along with it, but remembering the guilt over her previous actions and the faces of those who already died, she tries to overpower Riddick, swearing to him that she's willing to die for the people left in the cave. Riddick is amused and intrigued by her devotion and lack of fear but ultimately horrified and enraged when she ends up going back AGAIN to save HIM and gets herself killed in the process.
  • X Meets Y: Hannibal Lecter crossed with Aliens In Space!!!
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