If you love dark action packed movies in which the lead character is played by one of the most beautiful women who has ever walked among us mere mortals, then the Underworld movies are for you. In the vast pantheon of cinematic universes that interweave horror, action, and mythology, the Underworld series stands out as a darkly elegant exploration of a hidden world that exists just beneath the surface of our own. Introduced to audiences in 2003, this action-horror saga offers a fresh perspective on the age-old battle between two of the most iconic supernatural creatures: Vampires and Lycans (werewolves).
At its core, Underworld isn’t just about the visceral and relentless conflict between these two races. It delves deeper, unraveling complex themes of love, betrayal, identity, and the cost of eternal life. The series masterfully blends the dark romance of the gothic genre with the adrenaline rush of action-packed sequences, creating a unique aesthetic that’s both visually compelling and narratively engaging.
Central to the series is the enigmatic and formidable vampire warrior, Selene, whose journey from loyal Death Dealer to pariah and then to a leader offers audiences an anchor to the vast lore of the series. Through her eyes, viewers navigate a treacherous world of ancient feuds, political intrigue, and forbidden love. The sprawling metropolises, gothic castles, and industrial wastelands of the Underworld universe are as much characters in the saga as the vampires and Lycans who inhabit them. They form a backdrop that reflects the duality of beauty and brutality that defines the series.
As we venture into the depths of the Underworld films, we find that they are more than just tales of supernatural warfare. They are a reflection on the nature of power, the perils of history forgotten, and the complexities of relationships formed in the crucible of conflict. It’s a world where alliances are fragile, where enemies can become lovers, and where every decision can shift the balance of power in this eternal war.
Now, let us journey through the dark corridors of time and rediscover each chapter of this captivating saga…
1 – Underworld (2003)
Underworld was released on September 19, 2003. Directed by Len Wiseman and produced by Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, and Richard Wright, the movie was a production of Lakeshore Entertainment. The film features Kate Beckinsale as Selene, a vampire warrior caught in the war against the Lycan clan. She finds herself attracted to a human, Michael Corvin, played by Scott Speedman, who is sought by the Lycans for a sinister purpose. The movie delves into themes of forbidden love amidst the longstanding conflict. Underworld grossed over $95 million worldwide, establishing a foundation for its sequels.
2 – Underworld: Evolution (2006)
The sequel, Underworld: Evolution, directed again by Len Wiseman, hit the screens on January 20, 2006. This installment picks up directly from where the first film left off, with Selene and Michael on the run from both vampires and Lycans. The story explores the origins of the feud and reveals deeper layers of treachery. Notably, Bill Nighy plays the ancient vampire elder, Viktor, while Tony Curran portrays Marcus, the first vampire. The movie earned over $113 million worldwide.
3 – Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)
Released on January 23, 2009, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is a prequel to the first two films. Directed by Patrick Tatopoulos, the film centers on the Lycan servant Lucian, played by Michael Sheen, who ignites a revolution against the vampire leader Viktor (Bill Nighy) after falling in love with his daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra). It traces the origins of the age-old feud between the two supernatural clans. The film was met with mixed reviews but grossed over $91 million globally.
4 – Underworld: Awakening (2012)
Kate Beckinsale returns as Selene in Underworld: Awakening, released on January 20, 2012. Directed by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein, this fourth installment shows Selene escaping imprisonment only to find that humans have discovered the existence of both vampire and Lycan clans. Now, she must stop humanity and a new Lycan leader from exterminating her race. The film introduced a new character, Selene’s hybrid daughter, Eve, played by India Eisley. Garnering over $160 million worldwide, it stands as the highest-grossing entry in the series.
5 – Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)
Just when you thought it was all over, the gorgeous Kate Beckinsale returns once again. How could you not love Kate? Helmed by director Anna Foerster and produced by Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Len Wiseman, Richard Wright, and David Kern, Underworld: Blood Wars is the fifth installment in the series. Screen Gems and Lakeshore Entertainment collaborated to bring this chapter to the big screen.
Released on January 6, 2017, in the United States, Blood Wars plunges Selene (played by Kate Beckinsale) into new depths as she finds herself pursued relentlessly by both the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her. With her only allies being David (Theo James) and his father, Thomas (Charles Dance), Selene must find a way to end the eternal war between the Lycans and Vampires, even if it requires her to make the ultimate sacrifice.
A significant character addition in this film is the powerful and ambitious Vampire, Semira (portrayed by Lara Pulver), who has her own vested interests in capturing Selene. As the story unfolds, Selene unlocks more of her potential and discovers latent powers, emphasizing her critical role in the future of both species.
Blood Wars was met with mixed reviews from critics, yet it maintained the series’ notable visuals and high-octane action sequences. At the global box office, the film secured over $80 million, asserting the sustained appeal of the Underworld universe to its dedicated fanbase.
Beyond its earnings, Blood Wars further expanded the rich lore of the Underworld saga, delving into the Northern Coven’s icy territories and introducing viewers to new characters and dynamics that enriched the intricate web of relationships and power struggles inherent in the series.