Review: Everly

2015/01/23 20:53:02 +00:00 | Heather Wixson

Joe Lynch has directed a number of films over the past eight years, including Wrong Turn 2: Dead EndKnights of Badassdom, and the "Zom-B-Movie" segment of 2011's Chillerama anthology, but I’ve never felt like we’ve seen a film that was truly 100% his voice. That all changes, though, with Everly, his gut-punch love letter to the modern action film, a raucous and wickedly fun time that manages to be way more heartfelt and emotionally-charged than its over-the-top brutality and balls-out gunplay might otherwise suggest. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a truly badass female hero get her cinematic due, but everything about Lynch’s latest gets it just right.

In Everly, we meet the titular prostitute (Salma Hayek) on Christmas Eve right after she’s been subjected to a brutal gang-rape orchestrated by a Yakuza mob boss who isn’t thrilled with her recent betrayal of him and his organization. He’s put a bounty on Everly’s head which causes all the crazies to come out in high fashion. Rather than take the abuse like she’s chosen to do for years, Everly decides to make a stand and fight back against hordes of demented assassins, mob cronies, bloodthirsty prostitutes and SWAT guys to boot—all in order to keep those she holds near and dear safe from the ones who want her dead.

Mostly contained within the confines of her apartment, the vibrant energy necessary to keep up with the momentum of Lynch’s wonderfully maniacal script (which he worked on with co-writer Yale Hannon) rests solely on Hayek’s shoulders and the veteran actress does not disappoint at all. As a big fan of Hayek’s for decades now, it was awesome to see the actress finally get a chance to do a little ass-kicking again, much like she did in Bandidas, Desperado (which Hayek gives a small nod to early in the film), or even From Dusk Till Dawn to a certain degree.

But as delightful as it is watching Hayek take on waves of bad guys after bad guys (akin to a video game brought to life), it’s her character’s desire to keep both her mother and young daughter safe from this dangerous world she’s become mixed up in that makes Everly something more than yet another mindless action flick with nothing more than a handful of creative kills to offer viewers. It’s Hayek’s desire to protect her family that gives the film an emotional grounding, centering the story around our heroine and allowing us to deeply empathize with Everly’s own lifelong struggles as both a mother and a daughter (the battle to the death being a metaphor for her own poor choices up until this point in her life, and her own feelings of inadequacy, as well).

With its darkly comedic tongue planted firmly in its cheek, Everly is undoubtedly the best film we’ve seen from Lynch and a hyper-violent ode to the ’80’s action films we all grew up loving, with an added bit of Lars von Trier-meets-Takashi Miike sensibility. Hayek delivers a powerful performance, taking on each explosive set piece with an incredible sense of confidence that proves the actress is still as vibrant and saucy as she first was almost 20 years ago in Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado. For fans of films like The Raid: Redemption or even last year’s over-the-top sci-fi actioner Lucy, Everly is absolutely not to be missed.

Movie Score: 4/5

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.