Directed by Joe Lynch
Acclaimed filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard once wrote, “All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl.” Though plenty of films that have come along over the years have proven the Frenchman quite wrong, his immortal words have never felt more truthful than they do in the wake of Everly‘s VOD release.
Though, in fairness, Everly delivers a girl and about 15 different guns – as well as a handful of enemy-obliterating grenades. But still. You get what I’m trying to say.
Directed by “horror guy” Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2), Everly stars Salma Hayek as the title character, who has found herself enemy #1 of her ex-boyfriend – who happens to be a ruthless mob boss by the name of Taiko. Everly has betrayed Taiko to the point that her murder is the only thing that will bring him inner peace, and the vengeful mobster vows to end her life before the day is through.
Holed up in the lavish apartment building she once shared with Taiko, Everly is forced to spend the day fighting for her life, battling a seemingly endless array of bad guys/girls in her quest for survival. And thank god for the assault rifles and various deadly weapons that are hidden underneath the floorboards and stashed all around the premises – mob bosses, am I right?
Joe Lynch is a filmmaker who has more than ingratiated himself to us horror fans over the years, bursting onto the scene in 2007 with Wrong Turn 2 and immediately letting us all know that he’s one of us. From there, Lynch directed the wraparound segment of anthology film Chillerama as well as his follow-up feature, Knights of Badassdom, and he also portrayed a heightened version of himself in the FEARnet original series “Holliston.”
His first film that doesn’t quite fit into the horror genre, Everly is nevertheless the one that lets us know precisely who Joe Lynch is as a filmmaker, as Wrong Turn 2 was a part of an established franchise while Knights of Badassdom was infamously given a Lynch-less makeover in the editing suite. And that right there is the beauty of his third film. Like last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Everly feels like a direct feed into the brain of its maker, and with it Lynch proves that his is a brain worth hanging out in.
More than anything, Everly is an exercise in taking a simple premise and squeezing optimum entertainment factor out of it, and boy, does it ever. With very little backstory provided or needed, the stage is set right from the word go, as we’re introduced to a sexy lady who’s in a whole lot of trouble and who happens to have many weapons at her disposal. The precise trouble she’s in, or why she’s in it, matters very little, as Everly is the sort of movie that reminds us why we fell in love with movies in the first place: because they entertain us.
Playing out like a video game – and holy shit, I really want to play a video game based on this movie – Everly is 90 minutes of pure entertainment, as Salma Hayek’s utterly badass character shoots, chops and explodes her way through a never-ending onslaught of freaks and deviants. It’s as if everyone in the entire world is out to kill her, and to speak any further about the specific baddies that enter her apartment would quite frankly ruin the wholly unexpected fun of the proceedings – suffice to say, it’s a colorful cast of bounty hunters.
To complain that Everly lacks any real substance is missing the point of what Lynch has presented here, as the film is, at the end of the day, exploitation cinema at its finest. A bullet-ridden, blood-soaked homage to the brand of cinema that guys like Tarantino and Miike specialize in, Everly aims to please that particular audience and does precisely that, though I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that there’s a whole lot of heart underneath all the violence.
As Everly, Salma Hayek is thoroughly badass and drop-dead-sexy, but her performance also lends some unexpected emotional weight to the proceedings. Taiko aims to not just kill Everly but also her mother and young daughter, and you might be surprised by how much you find yourself caring about the character and her plight. Hayek’s Everly is unquestionably one of the great female action heroes of our time, single-handedly filling a cinematic gap that desperately needed to be filled.
So many movies promise to deliver what Everly promises to deliver and come up short in that quest, and Everly is one of the rare movies that does precisely what it says it’s going to do. The film is of course at its most entertaining when Hayek is brutally dispatching her adversaries, though Lynch manages to make the downtime feel like anything but – the post-mayhem cleanup is as fun as the mayhem itself, for example. From start to finish, Everly is just plain fun, and that’s really all it needs, wants or desires to be.
If Everly is what it looks like when Joe Lynch has full creative control, then I look forward to seeing what else Lynch does when he’s in charge of his own creations. Yes, he’s still one of us, but his future’s so bright that I’m pretty sure we’re going to have to start sharing him with the rest of the world. And that’s totally fine with me… if it means more movies like this one.