About halfway through the screening of Pitch Black that I attended, the theater lights suddenly came on, and the crowd's reaction seemed a mixture of surprise and relief. Director David Twohy had been working us over with the power of darkness, and it was nice to get a break. Set on a deserted planet that has three suns, this sci-fi thriller has no reason to be afraid of the dark...until an eclipse brings forth these bats out of hell, which can slice and dice, even juice and sluice, like Ron Popeil. Shot in the same Australian desert that Mad Max was shot in (and by the same cinematographer), Pitch Black has a nice B-movie feel. And the plot, though heavily indebted to Alien, has an interesting twist in the form of Riddick, a muscular serial killer who may be more trouble than those bats. (He shaves his head with axle grease and is played by the aptly named Vin Diesel.) Pitch Black gets no points for originality, but the way it mixes the old ingredients provides some undeniable tang.