werewolves

Underworld: Blood Wars

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The vampire death dealer, Selene, is at it again. After the vampire coven that was her home betrayed her she is out on her own. Her only solace is knowing that her daughter is somewhere safe and hidden away from the vampires that would use her blood for their own gain. When a new Lycan leader arises who is determined to find Selene’s daughter she is forced to go back to those who sought to destroy her.

This is the fifth Underworld film of the franchise, including the prequel. I loved the first film, the second film was entertaining as well as the prequel. Once we got to the fourth film things drastically went downhill. It was so dreadful that I completely blocked it from my memory and didn’t remember most of the events when I went into the fifth film. Because of how much I disliked the fourth film, I entered Blood Wars with low expectations.

For the most part the plot of this film held my interest. The Underworld films tend to have a lot of political intrigue, especially within the vampire covens, and this installment was no different. We are introduced to a new leader in the vampire covens, Semira, who is bloodthirsty for power. The twists and turns surrounding her and her desire to become invincible were quite intriguing. There was also a new Lycan leader known as Marius. We are told early on that he is different than previous Lycan leaders, but we do not immediately learn why. It adds a layer of mystery to the plot. The biggest down side to the plot is there are far too many flashbacks in the film. It felt like a third of the film consisted of scenes from the previous movies. Despite this, the filmmakers still added some fun new material. While I wouldn’t say this is an Oscar worthy story, it was enough to make me pay attention.

As with any Underworld film there were a lot of amazing action scenes in Blood Wars. This film was released in 2D and 3D, and I would recommend seeing it in 3D specifically for the fight scenes. I’m not sure if it was just that it had been a while since I watched this franchise, but I felt that this film was much more graphically violent than its predecessors. There is a possibility the filmmakers chose to have more gore to make the 3D more interesting, as they utilized it to emphasize some of the more interesting kills in the film.

Unfortunately, while the 3D made some scenes more interesting, it did not help with the unfortunate CGI. The earlier Underworld films were known for their practical effects and unique creature design. Blood Wars not only over used CGI, but the design they chose for the werewolf, Marius, is downright laughable. They gave him a different look than the other werewolves and it was so ridiculous that it ruined any fight scene his character was in. Overall the effects felt poorly done and ruined a movie heavily laden with CGI. The only effects in the film that were somewhat well done were for the wounds during the more graphic kills.

Underworld: Blood Wars consisted of a number of talented actors. Kate Beckinsale reprised her role as the beautiful and lethal Selene. It blows my mind that she has been playing this role for 14 years and can still kick some ass while wearing a vinyl body suit. Theo James (Divergent) also returned as the vampire, David. David will do anything to help Selene after she saved his life. I’ve never thought of James as an exceptional actor, but I did enjoy his performance in this film. The two main newcomers to this installment were Lara Pulver (True Blood) and Tobias Menzies (Outlander). Pulver plays the cunning Semira. Her performance was one of the more entertaining ones simply because she made her character look like she truly enjoyed being evil and devious. Menzies portrayed the werewolf leader, Marius. In general I am a fan of Menzies, and I know he can play truly vile villains. Sadly his performance in this film made his character seem more like a petulant child than a menacing leader.

If you see Underworld: Blood Wars in theaters, be sure to see it in 3D. It makes what would otherwise be a CGI action film nightmare into something at least somewhat more entertaining. Although I will say you aren’t missing too much if you decide to wait until the film hits Redbox. The action is fun, the plot has a lot of twists and turns, but in reality this installment is only marginally better than the fourth film. The filmmakers are clearly going to make a sixth film. After the last two films I wish they wouldn’t, but I will likely still see the next one when it is released in theaters.

OVERALL RATING: 5/10

Favorite Things: Halloween Horror Movies

Halloween. It’s my favorite time of year and my favorite holiday. The change in leaves, the crisp air, the costumes, and of course the great horror movies. It only seemed fitting that for my blog’s first Halloween I do a list of some of my favorite horror movies that take place during Halloween. This list is in no particular order and range from classics to more recent favorites. Let’s begin…

Halloween (1978) 

This is probably the most obvious horror movie that takes place during Halloween, but it is also one of the best. Like A Nightmare on Elm Street, some of my earliest horror movie memories are related to this film. It is a classic slasher flick that still sends chills down my spine, even though it’s been almost 40 years since its release. Jamie Lee Curtis really showed her acting abilities in this. She also has one of the best screams I have ever heard. She is by far one of my favorite “final girls.” Although I may be a bit biased because I think she and my mom look alike.

Honorable Mention: The 2007 Rob Zombie remake of Halloween is actually quite good. It stayed true to the original, while also adding quite a bit of back story on how Michael Myers became the iconic killer.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

This may be a slightly less popular choice, but this film definitely has a cult following. The Halloween movies were meant to be almost like an anthology series where each film focused on a different story taking place during the holiday. Many people likely went to the theater expecting to see another Michael Myers film. Because of this, the film did not do well at the box office. Since then it has become wildly popular with horror fans. I have to admit the first time I saw this movie I hated it. I have watched it a few times since then, and now it is definitely one of my favorite Halloween-themed films.

Trick r’ Treat

This is another film that has a huge cult following. I didn’t see this movie until several years after its release. When I finally watched it, I immediately fell in love. The film is done in an anthology style where all the stories are connected in some way. What makes this film so great is that it covers all the major themes you think of when you think of Halloween. The “main character” of the film, Sam, is great because he manages to be absolutely adorable and terrifying at the same time. This is very difficult to manage, and I still don’t understand how they did it. Trick r’ Treat really is a classic film that I now watch every year for Halloween.

Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snaps will forever be one of my favorite horror movies. The fact that it takes place during Halloween just adds the icing to the cake. I find the main characters, Ginger and Brigitte, to be fascinating and complex characters. It’s also amazing the actresses are able to portray this complexity while also having to be regular teenage girls. Their bond throughout the film also draws me in. I will warn the men who are interested in seeing this film that the entire movie could be seen as one giant metaphor for a girl going through puberty, but don’t let that stop you from seeing it. There is a lot of fun gore and practical effects, plus the script for this film is absolutely incredible.

Idle Hands

I know this is probably the most cheesy movie that will appear on this list. You might say it’s a ridiculous choice. Well, I don’t care. This movie cracks me up and has fun with horror. Plus the young nineties girl in me will forever be in love with Devon Sawa. I have always loved this film because it is hilarious and has copious amounts of gore. It is a film you can watch for Halloween if you want a healthy dose of horror accompanied by a fun and light-hearted tone. Idle Hands is a great Halloween horror choice for watching with a group of friends, especially if there are some in your group that don’t necessarily want to watch a scary movie.

The Houses October Built

This film only came out last year, but it has already made quite a name for itself. The most endearing quality of this film is that it examines why people love to be scared. It also delves into how extreme some people will go with those scares. It’s a great concept, and the cast is really fantastic. I’m sure this film will only grow in popularity over the years, much in the way that some of the previous cult classics I mentioned have. My only recommendation is to watch this after you go to a haunted house. If you watch it before, you just might change your mind.

House of 1000 Corpses

This is another one of my favorite horror films, and the film that made me fall in love with Rob Zombie as a director. It’s a unique story that got me within the first few minutes. This film is intense, bloody, and filled with insane characters. What I love most about the film (and the sequel) is that Zombie manages to create characters that are truly despicable, yet there is something about them that you can’t help but love. That takes true talent, especially when you see what these crazies like to do for Halloween (and on ever other day of the year). Watching this makes me want to be a part of the Firefly family. After watching the film, you will understand that this is not the most sane way to look at that family.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYONE!