The Best Urban Fantasy Movies
Urban film isn’t all The Wire. There are a lot of films out there low key doing way more with the setting. Urban fantasy is one of those genres that has been dropping great movies for a small fan base for a long time. With a lot of these films going under the radar, here is our list of the best urban fantasy movies of all time.
Lord of Illusions
Based on a Clive Barker story, Lord of Illusions takes his basic outline of really dark, incomprehensible evil and runs with it. Following a detective in LA hunting down a killer who may have come back from the dead, the fantasy elements definitely outweight the urban ones. It’s still worth a watch even if its just because you like slightly dated 90s horror. The cgi elements don’t hold up and are pretty funny at times but the film is a decent entry in the genre with the plot alone making it one of the best urban fantasy movies.
Based off the classic DC Comics comic book Hellblazer, which chronicles the adventures of private detective John Constantine. Half detective, half spiritualist, he deals with cases involving the supernatural until he comes up against a case that seems to involve the Devil himself. It didn’t get a huge critical response but for fans of the genre it was one of the best urban fantasy films of all time.
An American Werewolf in London
One of the oldest movies of the genre and one of its only Oscar winners (Best Makeup). The story of two American College students who are backpacking through the English countryside. During their travel a wolf attacks them. One dies while the other gets injured in the attack. The injured one finds out that he is cursed to become a werewolf if he doesn’t find a way to stop it before the next full moon.
Attack The Block
A group of friends living in an apartment block in London are tasked with stopping an alien invasion. Already a mad concept, the film is one of the best British releases in recent years. Featuring John Boyega in the role that got him Star Wars, it manages to work as sci fi/fantasy, comedy, action and drama. It’s an honest version of life for these guys that shows the good and bad and manages to have aliens show up without it really affecting the realism of the world.
A musician is brought back from the dead to avenge the murder of himself and his girlfriend. Brandon Lee’s final film is a fairly dark and depressed fantasy. Pitting a supernatural hero against gangs and murderers it doesn’t pull any punches. It achieved cult status very soon after release and easily became one of the best urban fantasy movies of all time.
A russian film about the opposing forces of good and evil magic, Night Watch is about the closest you can get to a crime drama in urban fantasy. Set in a city filled with two opposite sides of dark and light magic of which the normal human population has no idea, the film follows a member of a group that polices the actions of other magical entities. While it might sound a bit Harry Potter, bear in mind this is Russian. With that you can expect a lot of what the film is about to be a coded version of the social climate in Russia. It’s brutal, dark and honest with the ‘good guys’ being bad and the ‘bad guys’ being worse.
From Dusk Til Dawn
This one starts out like a Tarantino film, following two bank robbing brothers as they tear across America. George Clooney and Tarantino himself play the brothers who eventually stumble into a bar in Mexico only to find out that it’s filled with vampires. The entire film is a cheesy bloodbath of a B-movie but remains one of the best urban fantasy films of all time.
Following the theme of teenage movies about fitting in, The Lost Boys takes it a bit further. A teenager, Michael, makes the mistake of joining a group of vampires after moving to a new town only for everything to go as wrong as you’d expect from joining a group of vampires. Set in Santa Clara, California the film takes the beach town aesthetic as something rarely seen in horror movies. More ‘Dazed and Confused’ than ‘Twilight’ the film manages to capture a lot about being a teenager despite the fantasy overtones of the film.
Imagine if the kid from The Shining met those dead people and decided to solve their murders or help them out in other ways. That’s Odd Thomas. Anton Yelchin plays the title character who tries to use his abilities to stop a satanic cult from killing people in his town.
After a series of dreams about a town full of monsters, Aaron Boone goes to see a therapist. Unfortunately, the therapist is a serial killer who decides to use Boone as the fall guy for his murders. As Boone is framed for the murders he ends up following his dreams and decides to track down the city of monsters dwelling under a graveyard. Another Clive Barker film, it does one of the best jobs of balancing the fantasy and urban settings. A town of monsters with a town of humans right next to it and all the conflict in between.