A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Underworld is a dark, violent horror movie about battles to the death between vampires and werewolves. Non-stop action results in one grisly scene after another. The film contains countless bloody killings, decapitations, impalements, up-close vampire fang attacks, gun battles, point-blank shootings, and numerous gory transitions from human form into monstrous animal creatures. A few strong words are sprinkled throughout ("bitch," multiple uses of "f--k," "s--t," "Jesus Christ"). Some characters smoke cigarettes, and it’s unclear whether vampires shown in a social setting multiple times are drinking red wine or blood.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
UNDERWORLD begins with a stylish subway shoot-out. It turns out that there has been a centuries-long war between the vampires and the lycan. Now the lycan are very interested in a human doctor named Michael (Scott Speedman) and the vampires want to know why. Michael is rescued by Selene (Kate Beckinsale), and he rescues her in return. She is ordered to kill him. But he did save her life. And he is kind of cute. And you can tell they are meant for each other because while everyone else in the movie has slicked-back hair, Michael's and Selene's hair falls adorably over their eyes.
Is it any good?
If this movie doesn't quite rise to the category of silly fun, it is a tolerable comic book-style time-waster with some stylistic flair and some energetic action sequences. Imagine West Side Story with vampires and lycans (wolfmen) instead of Sharks and Jets and guns, blades, and teeth-piercing necks instead of musical numbers, then dress them all in Matrix-inspired goth-bondage attire and you'll have Underworld, a pulpy, punk-ish story filled with runes and ruins. This is the kind of movie where characters with names like Craven say things like "But what about the Covenant?" and the exposition explanation begins in the 5th century, dust is blown from the cover of weighty medieval tomes, and huge heavy chains hang down for no particular reason.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the conflict in Underworld is similar to real-world conflicts. Where in the real world are people struggling with longstanding disagreements? Why do these conflicts get violent?
Why do you think the violence in this movie is so graphic? Is that part of the appeal of a film like this? What would the movie be like if it toned down the graphic imagery?
Why are vampires so fascinating?
- In theaters: September 18, 2003
- On DVD or streaming: January 5, 2004
- Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Michael Sheen, Scott Speedman
- Director: Len Wiseman
- Studio: Screen Gems
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 121 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence/gore and some language
- Last updated: February 12, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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