Picks and Pans Review: Underworld

updated 10/06/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/06/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman
HORROR

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Everyone is young, wears leather, sports a pallor and sits or stands around looking louche while a heavy metal soundtrack clangs in the background. Figure you just wandered into an exclusive metropolitan nightclub? Nope, it's just the vacuous world of Underworld, a morose movie that pits vampires against were-wolves—all the folks described above belong to one of the two groups and have for centuries.

First-time director Len Wiseman (who also came up with the story) previously made music videos, and it shows. Underworld is fabulously sleek looking, but Wiseman unwisely forgets that viewers want to sink their teeth into a coherent plot, complicated characters and pungent dialogue, all of which are sadly lacking. Beckinsale and Speedman, who have been promising (she) and adequate (he) elsewhere, do little more than strike poses here. (R)

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