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Face-Off: Pitch Black Vs. The Descent

Sep. 2, 2013by: Mike Catalano
The few folks who commented on our last Face-Off were in agreement with me that Invasion of the Body Snatchers does indeed easily take over The Stepford Wives in terms of body-switching classic horror.

For today's Face-Off, we decided to turn off the lights in honor of Vin Diesel's RIDDICK, which opens this Friday, and bring out two horror flicks that give new meaning to being afraid of the dark. So, throw on your night-vision goggles and maybe grab a pick-axe as we present PITCH BLACK Vs. THE DESCENT.

Creatures
These alien monsters that only come out in the night are truly terrifying. Very similar to the species from Aliens and just as dangerous. They are incredibly fast, can climb like crazy, and display a large mouth of razor-sharp teeth. And if that's not enough, they can easily impale you with their sword-like tails. Oh, and they can f*cking fly too! If you get caught outside when the suns go down, better grab some butter because you is toast, homey!
Oh, man these freaky bastards that have been living underground for who knows how long, are relentless and hungry. They may be primitive, but they've got sharp claws and pointed teeth that rip to shreds the flesh of any living thing they come into contact with. On the negative side, they are not super strong and can be overpowered and killed with any type of blunt object. And inside a dark cave, there are plenty blunt objects.
Gore
The gru flies freely in Pitch Black thanks to those crazy alien monsters that hunt in huge numbers. We are treated to a nasty display of bloody carnage from impalings to head munching. The violence these creatures bring about more than earns the flick's R rating.
Okay, the violence in The Descent comes out when you least expect it and then explodes in a visceral array of shocking intensity. Whether it's the cave monsters tearing apart a woman's flesh, a woman gouging out a cave monster's eyes, or a woman sending a pick-axe accidentally through the neck of another woman, this flick's gore is great!
Action
The outer space, interplanetary setting of Pitch Black definitely opens the door for loads of kick-ass action. We get a spaceship's crash landing, a fight among crew members for supremacy, and a non-stop battle to escape the sharp clutches of those pesky night beasts. The thrills are never in short supply.
When the shit really hits the fan around the midway point of The Descent, it feels like we are literally on one long, steep roller coaster drop. The creatures pop out from everywhere and our girls make no bones about doing whatever the hell they can to escape to freedom. It is truly heart-pounding.
Hero
It is this flick that first introduced the world to Richard B. Riddick, Vin Diesel's shiny-eyed shit kicker. This character brings new meaning to the word bad-ass with his blunt deliveries and scrappy fighting ability. I mean, the dude goes head to head with one of the night creatures and doesn't end up dead! Even though his "Chronicles" sequel/spin-off blew, I'm hoping his third go-round ends up making him a lock to go down in history as one of the greatest cinema anti-heroes to ever grace the silver screen.
One would have never expected to see Sarah take on the role of hero from how she begins the film. However, after she is pushed to the limit, her animal instincts take over and bring about the most intense character transitions in modern horror. Shauna Macdonald is incredible as she unleashes her inner beast on all the creatures and one particular bitch that attempt to take her life. Her completely committed performance makes it all shockingly believable.
Ending
After rescuing the remaining crew and leading them back to their repaired ship, Riddick confronts and battles a night creature. Hearing his cries, Carolyn goes back to help him. After she finds him, the two attempt to head back when suddenly, the creature strikes. We are all shocked as Carolyn is the one pulled off into the darkness by a creature. Not looking to go out on a negative note, Riddick slyly says "good night" to a batch of creatures by using the spaceship to burn up and mow down a bunch.
Just letting you know, I'm going with this flick's original un-Americanized ending. Now fully aware of who Juno truly is, Sarah takes out her leg with a pick-axe and leaves her to be vanquished by the creatures. We then watch as Sarah discovers a ray of sunlight and is able to escape back to the world above the ground. She locates a car and flees the woods. She pulls over along the side of a road to gain composure. She looks to the passenger side and sees a ghostly Juno. She freaks and then wakes up to she her daughter (long deceased) smiling before a birthday cake with glowing candles. The camera does a little spin-around and we soon learn that Sarah is merely still stuck in the cave staring at nothing. Her fiery torch becomes the glow that once was candles. The camera pulls away from her and we hear the sounds of the creatures drawing nearer. So disheartening. So beautiful.
Pitch Black
Wow! I've gotta say that I was not expecting this outcome. Still, after looking over each category again and again, I really can't argue with the results. Pitch Black took down The Descent and that's that... or is it? What say you, my faithful reader? Do the results speak for themselves or am I in the dark here?! Spit them bullets below! And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at mikecatalano@joblo.com.

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8:11PM on 09/03/2013

Descent

Saw The Descent with a group of other horror fans, everyone loved the film. But it was made all the better by the two girls sat a few rows behind who appeared to be genuinely scared shitless by it. I think they were expecting just another generic horror with a few boo scares what they got was claustrophobia, some intense gore and a great fuck you ending. And for that admittedly personal reason I give it to The Descent although Pitch Black was also a good ride.
Saw The Descent with a group of other horror fans, everyone loved the film. But it was made all the better by the two girls sat a few rows behind who appeared to be genuinely scared shitless by it. I think they were expecting just another generic horror with a few boo scares what they got was claustrophobia, some intense gore and a great fuck you ending. And for that admittedly personal reason I give it to The Descent although Pitch Black was also a good ride.
Your Reply:



12:40PM on 09/03/2013

Vs.

At first I thought you cannot compare these two films, but then I suppose you could. THE DESCENT is simply the greatest horror film of the past ten years, and it easily trumps PITCH BLACK. However, PITCH BLACK is indeed one of the finest sci-fi horror films of its kind since the original ALIEN with a phenomenal monster, strong characterizations, a rich world, a smart script, and a phenomenal main character and star-making performance by Vin Diesel. I love PITCH BLACK. I really do. But even with
At first I thought you cannot compare these two films, but then I suppose you could. THE DESCENT is simply the greatest horror film of the past ten years, and it easily trumps PITCH BLACK. However, PITCH BLACK is indeed one of the finest sci-fi horror films of its kind since the original ALIEN with a phenomenal monster, strong characterizations, a rich world, a smart script, and a phenomenal main character and star-making performance by Vin Diesel. I love PITCH BLACK. I really do. But even with all that, it just doesn't measure up to THE DESCENT. PITCH BLACK doesn't have the sense of dread and unbearable claustrophobic grip that THE DESCENT does. It doesn't have the gut punch ending (as mentioned above). THE DESCENT is purely terrifying while PITCH BLACK is great smart monster fun. I suppose it's whichever you're in the mood for that particular night.
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11:40PM on 09/02/2013
I have to say I disagree with this outcome. While Pitch Black is a good movie, it's honestly a popcorn action blockbuster that doesn't have much going on. I find it a bit overrated...

The Descent is a masterpiece of horror that has so many layers going on. It's utterly brilliant.
I have to say I disagree with this outcome. While Pitch Black is a good movie, it's honestly a popcorn action blockbuster that doesn't have much going on. I find it a bit overrated...

The Descent is a masterpiece of horror that has so many layers going on. It's utterly brilliant.
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6:04PM on 09/02/2013

Gotta Disagree...

Sorry, but The Descent wins this hands down. One of my all-time favs.
Sorry, but The Descent wins this hands down. One of my all-time favs.
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+15
4:50PM on 09/02/2013
I also think The Descent was better. I can understand, though, how, in trying to break it down, you might wind up with Pitch Black on top. Richard B. Riddick is one very cool character.
I also think The Descent was better. I can understand, though, how, in trying to break it down, you might wind up with Pitch Black on top. Richard B. Riddick is one very cool character.
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12:37PM on 09/02/2013
The Descent is the superior movie in my opinion, easily my favourite horror movie and one that fucks my nerves every time.
The Descent is the superior movie in my opinion, easily my favourite horror movie and one that fucks my nerves every time.
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+21
11:48AM on 09/02/2013
Sorry but no way! The Decent is the superior movie!
Sorry but no way! The Decent is the superior movie!
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+16
11:30AM on 09/02/2013
Hmmm. To me, Pitch Black is more of a Sci-Fi - a cross between Outland and Alien. The Descent is more of a horror movie. I'd go with The Descent. Effin' scary.
Hmmm. To me, Pitch Black is more of a Sci-Fi - a cross between Outland and Alien. The Descent is more of a horror movie. I'd go with The Descent. Effin' scary.
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11:26AM on 09/02/2013

The Descent by far

The Descent is tense, creepy, gruesome, violent, disturbing. Pitch Black on the other hand is a fun Sci-Fi Action pick, but ultimately not much more than that.
The Descent is tense, creepy, gruesome, violent, disturbing. Pitch Black on the other hand is a fun Sci-Fi Action pick, but ultimately not much more than that.
Your Reply:



+18
11:11AM on 09/02/2013
I would have chosen The Descent as well! I always thought Pitch Black was a tad overrated...
I would have chosen The Descent as well! I always thought Pitch Black was a tad overrated...
Your Reply:



+18
11:01AM on 09/02/2013

No way

First off, Pitch Black is an action movie while The Descent is a horror one imo. I got kinda bored during Pitch Black but The Descent held my throat the whole time.
First off, Pitch Black is an action movie while The Descent is a horror one imo. I got kinda bored during Pitch Black but The Descent held my throat the whole time.
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2:08AM on 09/03/2013
I agree with this.

And very beautifully put, WalkAway.
I agree with this.

And very beautifully put, WalkAway.

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