Everly is one of the more unambitious yet ambitious films I’ve come across. The action is relatively well shot and Hayek, considering what she had to work with, wasn’t terrible (not great either) and she seemed to hold her own in the fight scenes. However, with that said, it’s very uneven in tone and genre.
Genre(s): Action, Thriller, Horror
Anchor Bay | R – 92 min. – $26.99 | April 21, 2015
THE MOVIE – 2.5/5
Everly is an action-thriller-horror-comedy-drama that clearly takes some of its cues from Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill though without his trademark dialogue and (somewhat) in-depth story. But what it does have in common is a kick ass heroine this time in the form of Salma Hayek who stars as the title character.
When the film opens, we are kept in the dark as to what is happening. Opening over black, a woman is clearly being tortured before we see Everly running into a bathroom and takes out a gun and phone from the toilet, frantically making calls one to a police detective, the other to her home, both times getting only voice message. On her own, apparently her fight or flight kicks in and manages to take down several armed men and received only a flesh wound in the process. This is one of the more farfetched elements – even in a movie like this – as we find out Everly is a sex slave “working” for a sadistic Japanese man.
This Japanese man had discovered Everly was working with the police to shut his operation down and is determined to take her out and in doing so, Everly is stuck inside one apartment and building as a variety of killers, including her former “co-workers”, come after her. Also in danger is Everly’s mother (LAURA CEPEDA) and daughter (GABRIELLA WRIGHT), both of whom she’s estranged from.
The film takes place, primarily, inside one apartment occasionally taking viewers into the hallway as Everly is one-by-one gunned for in a variety of ways (machine gun, grenade, etc.) and even goes into the vicious Saw territory when one man, a self-proclaim sadist, locks Everly into a cage, threatening her with a variety of acids.
And it’s scenes like this that makes Everly such an uneven film, not sure of itself what genre it wants to be. Early on, there’s clear dark comedic elements going on as she converses with a Japanese businessman, named simply “Dead Man” (AKIE KOTABE), paralyzed by a gunshot, and offers tips to Everly as she cleans up the apartment stuffing dead bodies wherever she could. But this is followed-up by a conversation with the antagonist in which he threatens to, paraphrasing, pimp Everly’s daughter out. Dark turned into damn near bleak. And yet the action continued to ramp up, gallons of blood spilt as the body count piled up.
Performance-wise, Salma Hayek, to me anyway, was kind of the poor man’s Penelope Cruz but in fairness, and she doesn’t give that great of a performance, she really doesn’t get much to work with considering it’s a simple enough story with just enough character development to keep one’s interest.
Everly was co-written, along with Yale Hannon (debut), and helmed by Joe Lynch whose previous ventures included Wrong Turn 2: Dead End and Knights of Badassdom, the latter of which received some online publicity but never quite delivered in spite of an impressive ensemble cast. In this film, though, it seems Hannon and Lynch were channeling their inner Tarantino, with I guess old school Rodriguez, and although the film has its moments, taken as a whole, it just never worked. Hayek isn’t terrible and she kicks ass but the meandering of genres wasn’t consistent.
In the end, Everly might be worth a rental but nothing more.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.5/5
The features are relatively light but we do get two Audio Commentaries, the first with Co-Writer/Director Joe Lynch, Co-Producer Brett Hedblom and Editor Evan Schiff; and the second featuring Lynch and Cinematographer Steve Gainer. Both tracks are actually very entertaining with Lynch being the most lively of the commentators but also offering information and background on the project.
Also included is a Music Video (3:27; HD) of “Silent Night” by Raya Yarbrough and Bear McCreary.
VIDEO – 3.75/5
Everly takes aim onto Blu-ray presented in its original 2.39 aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture quality is decent enough with good detail levels, colors appear to be well balanced and there were no discernible signs of aliasing or artifacting but I did notice some banding early on. However, it’s not the sharpest looking picture, at times there seemed to be pretty soft in some scenes. Although not great, it’s in the acceptable range.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track goes into overdrive with good balance from the more dialogue-centric scenes, few as they are, and especially the action sequences which give an extra boost from the flurry of gunfire to explosions and, disturbingly, blood-curdling screams. The lossless track has exceptional depth and quite dynamic when the LFE channel kicks in but not to the extreme where windows will rattle but instead gives vibration to the floors.
OVERALL – 2.75/5
Overall, Everly is one of the more unambitious yet ambitious films I’ve come across. The action is relatively well shot and Hayek, considering what she had to work with, wasn’t terrible (not great either) and she seemed to hold her own in the fight scenes. However, with that said, it’s very uneven in tone and genre: going from torture-suspense to action to dark/black comedy to drama and rotates through each one, although seems to lose the comedic element as the film dragged on. It might be worth a rental, just lower your expectations.
The Blu-ray released by Anchor Bay offers OK video, great audio and a so-so selection of bonus material which consists of two entertaining commentaries and a music video.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.