Underworld: Rise of the Lycans



Vampire vs. werewolf prequel is heavy on gore, low on fun.
  • Review Date: January 23, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 92 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

No particularly positive/deep messages here. The vampire aristocrats keep the werewolves in their midst chained as slaves, and there's extensive discussion of their feudal-like system of protection and patronage. A forbidden, wrong-side-of-the-supernatural-tracks romance is discussed at great length. Discussions of infanticide. A vampire calls a servant werewolf "a credit to your race."


Constant, graphic, and gory supernatural violence, including people being cut in half, ripped apart, decapitated, struck by medieval siege weapons (giant crossbow bolts, rocks), stabbed, struck, punched, and kicked. Extensive fantastic hand-to-hand combat, as well as swordplay and neck-biting. Lots of blood, either spilled in combat or drunk as a fact of vampire life. Grisly scenes of characters being lashed as punishment. Vampires are vaporized/immolated by the sun's rays. A character is stabbed through the mouth with a sword, with the protruding blade shown through the back of their skull.


Some kissing; a sex scene between consensual adult supernatural beings shields full nudity from the eyes of the audience yet leaves little to the imagination.


No actual swear words; the clashing characters instead spit supernatural names -- "vampire," "lycan" (the saga's name for werewolves) -- at each other like epithets.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

None, although blood is drunk in extensive amounts.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that teens might be clamoring to see this movie after the succcess of Underworld and Underworld: Evolution -- not to mention the increased interest in all things vampire thanks to Twilight -- but this is no angsty teen love story. It's an all-out class war between vampires and werewolves, and it's loaded with extreme special-effects violence (from decapitations to being cut in half) and oceans of blood. There's also a sex scene in which little is left to the imagination, but it's more comical than explicit.

What's the story?

Set long before the events in Underworld, UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS establishes the vampires vs. werewolves clash of the saga's plot. It depicts both the creation of the first intelligent werewolf, Lucian (Michael Sheen), born into bondage at the hands of the vampire ruler Viktor (Bill Nighy), and his secret passion for Viktor's daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra). When Viktor discovers their love, he's furious -- and, with the imprisoned Lucian leading a revolt of his fellow werewolf slaves, facing other problems as well. ...

Is it any good?


The first two Underworld films have been guilty pleasures for many moviegoers, and while Underworld: Rise of the Lycans features much of the same blood-drinking, neck-biting Romeo-and-Juliet Gothic romanticism of the first two films, it lacks the goofy pleasures of the first two movies' monsters-in-our-modern-world setting.

Sheen (who's far from the prestige of films like The Queen and Frost/Nixon here) makes for an adequate male lead -- haunted, heroic, hairy, and hunky -- while Mitra evokes some of the pouting hauteur that Kate Beckinsale brought to the earlier films. But Underworld: Rise of the Lycans never quite has the guts or glory to be much more than what it is: a bloody-but-bland cash-grab of a prequel made on the cheap in the name of a quick buck.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether on-screen violence is less problematic when it depicts supernatural beings fighting, rather than regular people. What about when the supernatural beings look human? What's the impact of watching this kind of violence? Families can also discuss the movie's slaves-versus-rulers plotline -- how does the film's central conflict parallel race differences? And

  • why do you think Hollywood likes making prequels and sequels to popular franchises? Is it just to make money?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 23, 2009
DVD release date:May 12, 2009
Cast:Bill Nighy, Michael Sheen, Rhona Mitra
Director:Patrick Tatopolous
Studio:Screen Gems
Run time:92 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:bloody violence and some sexuality

This review of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans was written by

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Teen, 16 years old Written byZeeZombie February 22, 2009


This movie is great. It has a story that leads into a very strong issue that should be investigated by kids. Unless you are into slavery then fine don't let your kids watch it. Its starts from love and full circles to murder but you know its kinda hard not to when its a story that particularly revolves around prejudice, discrimination and slavery. I this if a kid can understand those concepts then they will be okay to watch it.
Kid, 11 years old March 6, 2009

not the worst in the series but close

this a close call between this one and underworld evolution this dark gory violent yet good film underworld fans go see it please
Teen, 14 years old Written byBubbajean February 8, 2009


I don't know what the heck is wrong with CS. This is the BEST Underworld movie that has been made. It's way better than the Twilight movie. This is defiantly for older/mature teens. My favorite movie. Very good for vampire and werewolf fans or action horror movie fans. Don't listen to CS! They're screwed in the head.


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