Nearly 10 years ago the first Underworld arrived in theaters and introduced us to a new goth-flavored look at war between vampires and werewolves or lycans. Over the course of the series we have learned the war has been going on for centuries without humanity ever knowing. We also learn the story of the first vampire/lycan hybrid, a conspiracy between the races, and how our hero, Selene, became a target of pretty much everyone. A prequel film provided insight to the start of the war by taking us back to the beginning. Now, with the fourth film we get a story that simultaneously furthers the war and also feels a bit like a reboot, or at least a new beginning.
As Underworld: Awakening begins it is revealed that humanity is now in on the fight. Humanity has learned of these heretofore unknown races' existence and have united in their efforts to exterminate them. If the creatures appearance has done one thing, it is to unite humanity against a common enemy (perhaps this is what the real world needs? Some crazy supernatural species to force us all to work together for a change). Human forces engage in a series of purgings and cleansings in an effort to wipe out the vampires and lycans.
Voice over accompanying a montage of scenes show the human forces are doing a pretty good job of wiping out the non-human creatures. Frankly, I think this story would have made a pretty entertaining film on its own, but that is not what this movie is about. As the montage ends we see Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and Michael (Scott Speedman) preparing to flee the city to escape the nearing human forces. Unfortunately, they are not fast enough and are captured.
Twelve years pass and Selene wakes up in a some sort of cryogenic freeze chamber in a scientific facility. As soon as she awakens from her prison slumber, she is set upon by a horde of security guards. She manages to escape only to discover the world has changed; the vampires are in hiding and the lycans are even worse off, reportedly near extinction.
With that information, what is this story about? Well, it is one that sees Selene adjusting to this new and dangerous world and discovering that she has a daughter, dubbed Subject 2 at the lab. It turns out the little girl is very important to the scientists at the lab, especially Dr. Jacob Lane (Stephen Rea). She is a hybrid child and is being used by Lane to develop a "cure." As it turns out, this cure is really a serum to enhance lycan strength and size.