ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Gothic love in the Underworld
By Darren Glowacki
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman,
Directed by: Len Wiseman
Screen Gems and Lakeshore
GET THE BLUES. Kate Beckinsale plays Selene in Underworld
and gets ready to kick some werewolf ass - or, she'll
just pump 'em full of bullets.
Vampire movies are quite common these days - a fresh new crop
arrives every few years or so to fight for their own originality.
We had the Blade series and Dracula 2000 all in the past couple
of years, just to name a couple.
One wonders why filmmakers keep choosing to shoot the same
old idea. It is because the idea is still one of North America's
favourite ghost tales. However, filmmakers need to innovate
the vampire fable and hope it will become a box office hit.
Underworld does contain that spark to become the next vampire
hit, as it loosely falls into the vampire category. It's all
about the supernatural, focusing on a war that has been raging
for nearly 1,000 years between the Lycans (werewolves) and the
vampires. The time frame is present day, although the old gothic
cars and mansions may deter you from believing so.
An extremely unique movie, Underworld relies more on story
and character development than on typical gore and slaughter.
The film has a feel and texture similar to Interview with a
Vampire - old Victorian homes along with elegant dresses and
suits bear quite a resemblance to Anne Rice's classic.
The twist to this movie, of course, is the Lycan. Lycans are
beautifully rendered beasts that stand a good seven feet tall
and resemble a cross between a wolf and a human. There is a
scene when two werewolves are fighting in an underground subway
- it brings back traces of a Fight Club scrap. It is definitely
interesting to see two werewolves boxing for fun, proving humans
aren't the only species built to destroy each other.
Beckinsale (Pearl Harbour) plays the beautiful vampiress Selene,
clad in black leather, who is out to avenge the death of her
family. Told that her family was savagely killed and eaten by
a pack of Lycans, Selene will never cease to hunt until every
last werewolf is dead. Throughout the movie Corvin (Speedman),
a mysterious and ambitious intern, is being chased and hunted
by both vampires and Lycans. To explain why would spoil the
If the movie were to be compared to another film, then Underworld
is reminiscent of Blade I and II. This is mainly due to the
similarity in costume and artillery. Blade borrows from The
Matrix. Blade had an all-black leather suit, as does Selene,
while the twin hand-guns in slo-mo are in both films; it just
seems like overkill nowadays. What is really gothic is the lair
in the vampire's beautiful old mansion, which resembles something
built in the 19th century. The house is very eerie; it has vampires
and dogs patrolling the perimeter and a cryptic vault containing
a millennium-old sleeping vampire.
If you are a fan of the horror genre, this is a definite must-see,
even if you don't especially like tales of vampires and werewolves.
And it isn't corny like your average horror flick; Underworld
is a dark and gothic movie with a great plot and enough subplots
to keep you guessing. If you are expecting straight action and
gore with no story, then this is not the movie for you. If you
want to go see a good film with some action and a strange love
twist, then Underworld would be perfect.
Oh yeah - and for the guys, it might be a good idea to bring
a date, because she'll get scared.