In my angst-riddled teen years, I loved the movie Underworld. But as the sequels came along, there was a problem that my younger and stupider self could not properly articulate. I now know that the problem was that I could not properly identify the franchise's genre.

The first Underworld movie clearly tried to move away from tradition by making their vampire/werewolf movie more sci-fi. Rather than being mystical immortal beings, they gain their immortality and powers from a strange virus.

The second Underworld movie then seemingly abandons this idea with the introduction of Alexander Corvenus, previously thought to be a "ridiculous legend".

The third movie, quite obviously, does not allow for a sci-fi angle because it is set in the distant past where the very concept of science would itself be considered fantasy.

Come the fourth movie and the pendulum had swung back into the decidedly sci-fi genre with the introduction of the genetically modified werewolves.

As it stands I have yet to see the fifth installment in this series of films, but I doubt it contains the key to reconciling this issue.

With all this in mind, my question is: Is the Underworld franchise sci-fi or fantasy?

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    Does it matter so much whether it is strictly one or the other, or is the problem that it seems to undulate between the two? Jul 26, 2017 at 5:19
  • Good question @can-ned_food. I would say that the problem is that the franchise seems muddled and vague, and I would like to see evidence of it leaning towards one of these two categories. Jul 26, 2017 at 5:37
  • Sorry, i only saw bits of one of the movies, and so I don't have any genuine information in this regard other than what a web-search could reveal. I can say that perhaps, seeing as how ‘science’ and ‘magic’ are defined entirely by the beholder, the series is being intelligent and choosing to apparently jump between the two. Looks more likely to me that they are simply sci-fi-ish, though, with the third movie being an exception for the sake of appearances. Jul 26, 2017 at 6:12
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    This seems largely opinion-based to me. Personally, since it's essentially both, I would say it's Science Fantasy, which is also how I would classify the bulk of the Final Fantasy series. But that's just my opinion, and others may disagree with me. Jul 26, 2017 at 8:58
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    This is why I prefer the phrase "speculative fiction": it still uses SF, but ignores the science fiction vs. science fantasy (or even hard science vs. soft science) discussions.
    – Ghotir
    Jul 26, 2017 at 14:32

2 Answers 2


According to Wikipedia it is Action Horror film series, which by sense comes under the category of 'Fantasy' genre. But there is no hard evidence that anyone can provide on this. As you can see in the films there is more Fantasy than Science, so it is a Fantasy Genre.

  • Why does an Action Horror film class as a 'Fantasy' film?
    – Edlothiad
    Jul 26, 2017 at 8:26
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    What does Fantasy means? i.e. Things beyond the real world, Action is also exits in real world as well as horror. In the movie everything is imaginary and mystical, So it is Fantasy with Action and Horror. @Edlothiad
    – Neck
    Jul 26, 2017 at 8:36
  • That's not the question I asked. You said it is an Action Horror film series, which by sense comes under the category of 'Fantasy'. That's different to what your comment says. You should consider editing your answer to make it clearer.
    – Edlothiad
    Jul 26, 2017 at 8:50
  • I answered it according to the movie.
    – Neck
    Jul 26, 2017 at 8:51
  • Your comment makes no sense. The OP points out that they explain at least some of the traditionally supernatural elements through science (eg viruses, genetics), so how is "everything imaginary and mystical"? On that, everything being imaginary isn't just a Hallmark of Fantasy, it's the very definition of "fiction". You can write a fictional story in any genre, not just fantasy.
    – Paul
    Jul 26, 2017 at 10:18

From the evidence you cited, I'd say it's Science Fantasy. From Wikipedia (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_fantasy), I say this because that genre incorporates elements of both sci Fi and fantasy, but generally uses science as a "thin veneer" to explain things that are likely impossible, rather than being reasonable extrapolation of real world science.

The Underworld franchise use of viruses and genetics to explain how folks transform into huge wolf creatures (violating basic physics like conservation of mass) seems to qualify.

If it were pure Fantasy, there would be no attempt at the science, and if it were pure SF, the science would both be reasonable extrapolation and also the science is often considered nearly a character unto itself. In this case, it's really just a quick narration about why stuff is the way it is.

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