Feature film “underworld: blood wars”: new and old cages

This is the first film in the Underworld series to be directed by a woman. Also in this part vampires compete against werewolves.

Light does not bother the vampire Selene Photo: Sony

In the middle of the battle, in a showdown between werewolves and vampires, after endless continuous action, the tough heroine seriously entrenches herself behind bars to mourn a loss. She becomes absent, disoriented, biting at memories for a moment. Literally. Drinking blood, that shows vampires a soul’s past. She bites her arm to feel once again the beloved.

This shelter is quite unexpected, feels like a tender rebellion against the continuation of a fight, the suspension of a beat. The cage creates a stage between the rapid cuts. Is the feeling for what you’ve experienced still there after all the fighting? That’s the opposite of a climax, the first rebound perhaps, in what is now the fifth film in the "Underworld" series. The first, by the way, to be directed by a woman, Anna Foerster: "Blood Wars.

A few meters further on, the evil wolf rages, which the heroine had shown her teeth to shortly before. Killing was actually Selene’s vocation. As a vampire, as a "death dealer," she once lived to slash, slash, slash, slash werewolves in every way imaginable, in short, to dominate. Vampires were always the master race in their world, and this woman had been part of their power structure for centuries.

Already in the first film of 2003, the order crumbles when her patron and foster father Viktor reveals himself as a scheming liar and reactionary dogmatist. It was not the wolves who murdered her family, but the aristocrats!

The same aristocrats who kept the wolves as slaves. All of a sudden, the purity of races and classes is at stake. And everything gets more complicated because a hybrid appears: an adorable hybrid of both species, bolder than either. Selene falls for the sensitive newcomer, there’s a lot of arguing and strategizing, then in the end all the old masters are dead.

New part, new problems

Twelve years later, since the fourth part of the series, there are new problems: Humans now pursue wolves and vampires without distinction. Between them, the blood feud still exists.

By the way, the child of Selene and her mixed-blood lover is called Eve, because her DNA is supposed to give the advantage in battle. Selene herself also became a supervampire over the course of the films through the lifeblood of a grandfather. Racial issues continue, soon everyone wants to get out of their skin and drink the hip stuff.

They all want to defeat their weaknesses, silver and daylight. Finally go new ways, that is worth many struggles. For a few, the plan seems to work out; these are hard times. The triumph of the power-hungry and the hope of the visionary last only a short time before they are assassinated in riots and intrigues. It’s a tradition here.

"Underworld: Blood Wars." Directed by Anna Foerster. With Kate Beckinsale, Theo James and others, USA 2016, 91 min, film opens Dec. 1.

Part five dares hesitant attempts at genre variation: there are eso-vampires in the north, all in white, almost elf-like. Or like Vikings after all? In a moment, the Eso leader taps a young savage on the back as he runs with the silver blade towards the wolf’s howl. Is anyone here actually true to his word?

Enlightenment comes in the commune anyway, at least for Selene. And in the end, somehow it’s all about empowerment and status again, about new authority, about old cages. Righteous rulers instead of tyrants is the motto. Those who feel the story don’t go along with it. Or so one hopes. But the contemporary witnesses have been burned.