I honestly can’t tell you how I ended up watching Pitch Black on Netflix. It’s one of those things that just happened, not unlike waking up in Bangkok with a tattoo on your face or a shaved head. I might have mistakenly remembered that it’s a cult classic and that my sense of disappointment from seeing it in theaters over ten years ago was misplaced. That way lies madness. That way lies rewatching things like Soldier, Dune, or Stargate.
Pitch Black is awful. The writing is terrible, the production design is cheap, and the dramatic tension is entirely artificial. The cast mostly flounders, particularly poor Vin Deisel under the misguided notion that he’s the most bad-ass intergalactic criminal since that guy who didn’t like Mark Hamill either. When Deisel goes nose-to-nose with a space bat, lunging left and right to stay in its blind spot as it turns its head, Pitch Black loses its last faint shred of credibility. The worst sin any movie can commit is to betray its own conceit. Here is a movie about terrible terrible space bats that will eat you if you venture into the dark, except for all the times various characters venture into the dark and don’t get eaten.
It’s kind of cool seeing Claudia Black considering how much I hear her in videogames like Uncharted, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age. And I’ve always liked Radha Mitchell, who somehow seems to rise about the various genre stinkers she’s been in. Which reminds me, hey, she was in that Silent Hill movie! That wasn’t so bad, was it? Maybe I should watch that again, since I actually ended up with the Silent Hill DVD somehow, which is a bit like waking up in Vegas with a missing tooth and a tiger in the bathroom.