Film (2000). Polygram Filmed Entertainment presents an Interscope Communications production. Directed by David Twohy. Written by Jim & Ken Wheat and Twohy; story by the Wheats. Cast includes Claudia Black, Keith David, Vin Diesel, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Rhiana Griffith, Cole Hauser and Radha Mitchell. Theatrical version 110 minutes; Director's Cut 112 minutes. Colour.
Titled Nightfall in its early development, Twohy's film cheekily co-opts the premise of Isaac Asimov's "Nightfall" (September 1941 Astounding) for an unpretentious and highly effective sf Horror, in which the survivors of a crashed colony ship on a desert world (see Colonization of Other Worlds) find an earlier settlement wiped out by photophobic predators who flock to the surface when the system's three suns are eclipsed. The Australian setting and support players give the film a strong no-nonsense genre stamp, and the film works artful twists on its undisguised model Aliens (1986). A surprise hit, the film created an unexpected franchise lead in rising star Diesel's antihero Richard B Riddick, who was given his own sequel in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) and its various tie-ins and spinoffs, including the third film Riddick (2013). (Ironically, the original plan had been for Mitchell's character to survive instead.) In common with his practice on other films, Twohy has authorised an unrated Director's Cut edition as part of some DVD packages. The novelization by Frank Lauria, Pitch Black: Fight Evil with Evil (2000; vt The Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black, 2004), is based on an earlier draft and preserves elements (notably in relation to Griffith's character) reworked in the final film. A poor tie-in for Television, Into Pitch Black (2000), cuts footage from the film into a very weak (and cheap) 40-minute sequel; Twohy is credited for "creative consultation", but neither he nor Diesel appears to have been directly involved. [NL]
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