Everly

Release: Friday, February 27, 2015

[Redbox]

Written by: Yale Hannon

Directed by: Joe Lynch

There’s an unshakable sense Joe Lynch and company didn’t fully appreciate the opportunity they had with Salma Hayek playing the lead in this economical, often comically violent home invasion thriller.

Despite having a strong presence Hayek is relegated to the role of Donkey Kong: all she must do is survive an incoming wave of bad guys and, barring something just completely off-the-wall in the script, she’ll be home free. Er, in a manner of speaking. She’s actually home the entire time, as Everly rarely leaves the confines of an upscale loft apartment, and when it does it saunters out into the hallway for a few long seconds just to see if the coast is clear. But it rarely is, and Everly is certainly not free.

If it’s not giving the film too much credit, Everly seems to harp on the idea of freedom more than its bloody special effects. On a small scale, Everly wants needs to be free of the physical and mental anguish brought on by her psychotic ex-boyfriend Taiko (Hiroyuki Watanabe). That her family winds up getting in the middle of several attacks (albeit on the back of some extremely foolish decisions) is surely reason enough for Everly to break free of her dark, dangerous past. Ironic that Lynch’s film can’t break free from the mould of the typical brainless action outing. Everly’s background is as unknown as the environment outside this building. And if there is freedom to be found it exists only in the physical: some way of escaping this hell-hole.

Everly’s ability to defend herself, while more often than not entertaining, makes her a thorough enigma if we are in fact meant to be rooting for her. Given the waves upon waves of attackers, each one seemingly more violent and depraved than the last, we want to assume Everly’s done something worse than cheat on poor Taiko; surely no degree of infidelity would justify this kind of a response. While the various intrusions mark Everly a prisoner in her own home her natural ability to quickly solve each recurrence of that very problem necessarily redirects a spotlight back upon her past. Alas, we don’t ever fully get to understand Everly.

As she exists in this version of the film — the final product, sadly — Everly is neither person nor prisoner. She’s a heavily-tattooed survivalist with no last name. Her current predicament, no more complicated than that classic video game. The controls are basically run, shoot/throw things, duck and hide. Despite Hayek’s faintly detectable humanity — even though, ew, she’s a hooker and shame on her for not being around for her young daughter — she doesn’t get to leave the stinging impression that the physicality of her performance wants her to. Drama is far more obsessed with getting even, an eye-for-an-eye when at least one of those eyes should be focused on the details. Like, why we should care about any of this.

While it’s good to see a female spin on this steadily-growing subgenre of action films popularized by Liam Neeson and his brand of vengeance-seeking, Everly overcompensates for its casting, eventuating in a grotesquely violent shocker that will be remembered less for Hayek’s energy than it will be for the blood stains it leaves behind.

“Say ‘Hola’ to my little friend!!!”

Recommendation: For those desensitized to brutal action, Everly delivers a lot of the good/red stuff. It’s suitably a short-lived home invasion and the experience packs in enough disturbing events to satisfy those sorts of fans but it’s a problem having someone as talented as Hayek in a role so poorly developed. She’s too mysterious to embrace but nowhere near sadistic to be rejected. Sad to say Everly is one to watch less for the character/actress than the crafty little kills she’s responsible for throughout.

Rated: R

Running Time: 92 mins.

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Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.imdb.com 

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12 thoughts on “Everly

  1. I knew this wouldn’t get a great score from you buddy, but glad it at least got a half-score. Hayek is ridiculously hot so I had a blast just watching her shoot people. Really had fun in general with the over-the-top villain and stuff too haha.

    • I liked the fights between good and evil for sure. And really, I was okay with the really really basic set-up. All Taken revolves around is someone takes Liam Neeson’s daughter. . . and then he goes out and kills a bunch of Eastern Europeans in order to get her back. Simple is good when we can understand the characters, though. I couldn’t understand wtf Everly was supposed to be. I wasn’t even sure if we were supposed to be rooting for her or just eagerly awaiting more bad guys. So I was kind of torn on it at the end. Didn’t want to give it a negative score but I couldn’t bring myself to give it a positive one either. the 50/50 seemed to fit. 🙂

    • Hahah I did notice that the freeze frame image on the trailer is pretty ideal. 😉 And Salma Hayek kicks some major ass in Everly, but I just couldn’t get behind her character. This movie is just kind of. . . . blegh. It’s weird. You’ll have to let me know what you think if you do end up picking it up.

    • Salma says “Hiiiiyyyyyaaa!!!” while karate-chopping the shit out of bad dudes in this movie. She basically says her own last name. 😉

      I was kind of disappointed with this; I like dumb action/thrillers as much as the next guy but here we have a tough female lead but with absolutely no character or personality. It felt like a waste to me. It was cool though, because i Haven’t seen Salma Hayek in a lot of things and so it was nice to see her in something again.

  2. I saw this and liked what they did but it just needed something more to . How is she so skilled with weapons after living in that apartment for so long. Why do the filmmakers use “last second saves” so often? What’s with the opening? Etc etc.

    Love,

    Ipes

    • Exactly!! I had so many questions about this chick. Why was she such a badass all of a sudden? Why could she survive so many rounds of villains?? I mean it was pretty fun, but there was just such a ridiculous randomness to it all. ANSWERS!!! I DEMAND ANSWERS!!!!! 😛 😀

      Cheers for the comment, Bro Nameth.

    • It’s good for the action and the blood but not much more in my book. Salma Hayek is pretty fun but her character is too nondescript to really get behind, which is unfortunate. I liked the potential here, though. Thanks Michael.

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