Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009) is the third installment in the Underworld series, although it is – somewhat confusingly – the prequel to Underworld (2003) and Underworld Evolution (2006). Essentially, it creates the back story to the war between the Lycans and the Vampires, portraying the Lycans – who were depicted as the villains in the other two – in a far more favourable light.
Viktor (Bill Nighy) is the ruthless elder and leader of a vampire clan; he and his men live in a spooky castle on a jagged mountain top. He and his army of vampires are hunting down, capturing and killing werewolves, enslaving the strongest of them so that he can keep guard during the day (when vampires have to hide from the sun) and to do all the hard labour.
One day, he finds a human baby, which turns out to be the first werewolf able to take on a human form – it is called a Lycan. As the baby Lucian (Michael Sheen) grows up and grows stronger, Viktor deviously lets him feed on human slaves whenever he turns into a werewolf. The humans that survive his bite become Lycans in turn. Viktor has thus created another race of slaves to serve the vampires.
Lucian and Viktor’s courageous and warrior-like daughter Sonja (Rhona Mitra) fall in love with each other – although they have to keep their love a secret, because she is, after a vampire, and her father would most emphatically not approve. Lucian has the qualities of a natural leader, and the other Lycans look up to him. His courage in standing up to Viktor and his clan of course upsets the vampires, as he fears that they may be losing control over them…. which they are.
And thus begins the war between the Vampires and the Lycans.
And a bloody gory war it is. (Don’t eat supper while watching this.)