“It is certainly one of the best on-screen portrayals of vampires and werewolves.”
Underworld (2003 film)
Directed by Len Wisemen
Starring Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, Shane Brolly, Sophia Myles and Bill Nighy
Underworld centres around a vampire named Selene (Kate Beckinsale) who is a Death Dealer. As a Death Dealer, it is her mission to hunt down the Lycan (werewolf) race. When she meets a human, Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman), she finds she has feelings for him. After Lucian (Michael Sheen), the leader of the Lycans, bites Michael, Selene decides to go against her clan in order to protect him.
What I found most intriguing was the backstory between vampires and Lycans. We discover all this through flashbacks and by the narration of Selene. The conflict between vampires and Lycans had started centuries ago, when the old vampire Viktor executed his own daughter, Sonja. He did this because she had fallen in love with Lucian, and Viktor feared that if a hybrid vampire/Lycan came into existence, it would be stronger than both races.
What we also discover is why Selene wants to eradicate the entire Lycan race. When she was human, Lycans had slaughtered her family. She survived because Viktor saved her. Selene has carried a grudge towards them for the many centuries of her immortal life. Viktor saved her because she reminded him of his own daughter and she looked up to him as her father.
One thing I found clever was a major plot twist, but it contains a spoiler and you are just going to have to watch this movie to find out. (Hehe!)
While Underworld showed positive reception from audiences, the critics mostly gave it negative reviews, largely criticising the overacting and lack of character development. Other critics had praised it for the stylish Gothic visuals, the “icy English composure” in Kate Beckinsale’s performance and the well-developed backstory between the vampires and the Lycans. (For more about the reviews, check the Wikipedia page and the Rotten Tomatoes page.)
I have to say that I loved it. It has since become one of my most favourite movies. It is certainly one of the best on-screen portrayals of vampires and werewolves.