This article was originally published on Ferretbrain. I’ve backdated it to its original Ferretbrain publication date but it may have been edited and amended since its original appearance.
There is no justification for placing the Underworld series in the horror genre, despite the abundance of vampires and werewolves, since none of the films ever really attempt to scare, spook, or instill a sense of dread in the viewer. As with the various World of Darkness roleplaying games that Underworld totally isn’t based on, it’s really best to regard the films as fun, gothy, mindless fantasy, with an appropriate emphasis on stylish violence and shapely female forms in unlikely costumes.
This being the case, it was probably inevitable that the series would end up ripping off Peter Jackson’s take on The Lord of the Rings.
Underworld 3 (more properly Underworld: Rise of the Lycans) is set in the Dark Ages, a move certain to distance the series from the World of Darkness franchise. It covers the tragic romance between Lucian (Michael Sheen), the first Lycan (a werewolf able to transform between its human and wolf forms), and Sonja (Rhona Mitra), daughter of the vampire elder Viktor (Bill Nighy, chewing the scenery to pieces), and Lucian’s subsequent rebellion against Viktor and the liberation of the Lycans from vampire rule.