An action/thriller centered on a woman who faces down assassins sent by her ex, a mob boss, while holed up in her apartment.
I went into ‘Everly‘ not knowing anything other than the great horror filmmaker Joe Lynch directed it and that the beautiful Salma Hayek was starring in this action film. After the film ended, not only was it one of the most entertaining and thrilling experiences I’ve had watching a movie in a long time, but it was also one of the greatest Christmas movies I’ve ever seen.
Joe Lynch (‘Holliston‘, ‘Chillerama‘, 'Knights of Badassdom' and ‘Wrong Turn 2‘) has conjured up one hell of a film that pays homage to the great sadistic Japanese films of Takashi Miike and some of the best 80s action movies ever made. You can say that ‘Everly’ plays out like ‘Kill Bill‘ on speed and set all in one room. Lynch used his camera so well and told not only a balls-to-the-wall action story, but also a heart felt tale of one woman who will do anything for her family, that at the end, you feel like you went through hell and back with her. It was FANTASTIC!
The opening shot introduces us to a naked Salma Hayek (Everly), who runs to her bathroom soaked in sweat and god knows what else and pulls a gun from her toilet tank and then opens the door and shoots several men. We come to learn that she was forced several years ago into prostitution for a Yakuza mob boss, and has not been able to contact her family since then. Well it seems she has had enough and wants to get out of this luxury apartment, which is more like a prison where the mob boss and his lackeys and clients can go to have their sadistic ways with Everly. Once Everly lets him know that she is done for good, he puts out the word and bounty to other assassins and prostitutes to take her life in lieu of cash.
Well this sets off the film as Everly must fight off each attacker including whores with knives and weapons, tactical military assassins, ninjas, and even a diabolical sadist and his masochist, which will bring high end thrills. All the while, she is trying to protect her mother and small child whom she has never met in fear that her mob boss will get to them first and kill them. It’s a non-stop high octant thrill ride that you’ll want to ride again and again. Hayek is brilliant in this role. I wouldn’t say she is as badass as Uma Thurman in ‘Kill Bill‘, not because she can’t fight, but because she isn’t a skilled assassin. She is just a regular woman who will do anything she can to keep her family safe.
Lynch treats Hayek as if she was Bruce Campbell in an ‘Evil Dead‘ movie as she is put through the ringer completely. It looks like it was a very physical and bloody shoot for her, and she pulled it of perfectly. And if Lynch couldn’t get any cooler, he enlisted the amazing talent of Bear McCreary to score the film, which is epic beyond any level that you can begin to imagine. In addition to the score, the film is solely comprised of Christmas music as it is indeed set during the holiday season, which is brilliant. To see Hayek take out numerous villainous bad guys to the tune of ‘Silent Night’ is something special. ‘Everly‘ is one hell of a fun film and might be the best Holiday movie ever made.
'Everly' has a great 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.39:1 aspect ratio, although there are some minor problems with the image from time to time. The main problem is that the image goes from a clear pristine digital look to a much softer picture with no depth. I'm not quite sure the reason for this, but it is noticeable. Certain objects and closeups have great detail that show the makeup wounds, beads of sweat, and individual fibers and hairs nicely. However, there are moments where the image just loses its clarity and becomes a flat surface.
Colors look very good as well, with a ton of warm Christmas colors throughout. The browns, reds, and hint of greens look solid with a few instances of some strikingly bold colors that pop off screen. Black levels for the most part look deep and inky, but there are some minor problems with crush during the darker scenes. The skin tones looked natural throughout and there were no compression issues other than some minor video noise that crept up here and there.
This release comes with an excellent lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix that sounds as good as almost any action movie should sound. Needless to say, there are a ton of explosions and gunfire throughout 'Everly', and luckily this audio mix packs a strong punch from start to finish. You'll literally feel like you're in the middle of this epic night-long gun fight as each gunshot is marked with precision and layered with accuracy from each speaker. Every explosion is on par with any Michael Bay film too, which gives your entire speaker system a solid workout.
The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow, and free of any pops, cracks, shrills, and hissing. The score by Bear McCreary and choice of songs sound perfect as well, which always adds to each entertaining and violent scene with a certain sadistic holiday cheer. The bass kicks in throughout as well with well-balanced rumble. The LFE is excellent and the dynamic range is very wide. I only wish that the video presentation was as good as this.
Creative Feature Commentary - The first commentary option is with director Joe Lynch, Producer Brett Hedblom, and editor Evan Schiff as they have quite a fun discussion on how 'Everly' came to be. They also discuss the casting, the script, the music, their inspirations, and how they shot the film. If you don't know already, Joe Lynch is always a great commentator so this is an excellent listen.
Technical Feature Commentary - This second option is with Joe Lynch again as well as cinematographer Steve Gainer and is just as good as the Creative Commentary track. The only real difference is that this energetic commentary focuses more on the actual shooting, lighting, and fight choreography of the film.
Music Video (HD, 4 Mins.) - Here is a music video of 'Silent Night' by Raya Yarborough and Bear McCreary. It's mostly in B&W and was directed by Lynch himself.
'Everly' is a highly entertaining and fun movie, full of action, gun play, and blood. If you know what you're getting into before you watch this, you're going to enjoy it. The video has some issues, but the audio is fantastic. I do wish that there were more extras here as it would have been great to see some behind the scenes stunts and bloopers. That being said, 'Everly' still packs enough entertainment to warrant a purchase. Recommended!