Everly promised 90 minutes of a gun-toting Salma Hayek destroying an endless swarm of assassins, and sure enough, that’s exactly what we got. Easily his best turn behind the camera, Joe Lynch delivers a crimson colored thriller that shoots first and asks questions later. In Everly, a woman holed up in her apartment must survive the night when er ex, a mob boss, orders assassins to kill her for a large bounty. It’s a simple story, one that starts in the middle of mayhem and piles up the body count until there’s nothing left.
There’s no calm before the storm with Everly as it opens with a naked and battered woman in a bathroom scrambling for a cell phone and a gun. Everly, trembling with a gun in her hand, prepares to take her own life as a man threatens to break in. Just as the bathroom door swings open, a gunshot echoes off the walls, it cuts to black. Everly has decided to fight back and rains a room full of assassins in bullets, killing 6 people in just as many seconds. We’re less than 5 minutes into the movie and Everly’s apartment is all ready covered in blood, now that’s something.
The film is a masterful showcase of violence, one that comes at the hands of a gorgeous woman who happens to be really good at killing people. There’s hardly a moment in the movie when there isn’t a body hitting the floor, and the few times there is, it comes to an abrupt end when some random henchmen comes running around the corner and Everly has to cut them in half with a shotgun. The kills are at times repetitive, but for the most part they’re a special brand of what-the-fuck that we haven’t seen in an action movie in quite some time. I particularly liked the elevator scene. Ho-ly-shit.
All of this comes to a fault, though. Because the film is much more interested in blowing shit up, its story takes a back seat in a big way. We’re given enough details to know what’s going on, but it’s all washed over very quickly; I felt like I was piecing the film’s plot together myself as it went on. It’s not such a bad thing if you show up to Everly for the violence, but if you’re looking for something a little deeper to dig through, then you might be disappointed. As I said before, it’s very much of the shoot first ask questions later mentality, so if you go into this one with that in mind, there’s a lot of fun to be had in Everly.
And then there’s the gorgeous Salma Hayek, who at the age of 48 is more badass then we’ve ever seen her before. She shoots, stabs and blows the bad guys up from beginning to end, giving us an action-hero heroine that rarely graces the cinematic world. However, the film tries to set her character up as this everyday kind of woman, one that just wants to see her family again. The only problem with that is that she’s everything but ordinary. Everly has the killing power and luck of John McClane, yet we have no idea how she’s so damn good with a gun. Where did her lethal skills come from? Unfortunately, that’s a question the film never answers. As much fun as it was to watch Everly kill and entire yakuza army, it would have added an important layer to the narrative had the film explained how Everly got to be so badass.
Beyond that, however, Lynch has created a bizarre, action-packed world that never reaches outside of the walls of Everly’s apartment, yet somehow still feels massive. To me, that was the film’s biggest achievement; it’s anything but small. It starts with a blood-soaked bang and ends with one hell of a showdown between Everly and her ex, leaving you begging for more.