'Everly' Review: Salma Hayek Goes For The Full 'Die Hard' [Fantastic Fest 2014]

With Everly, director Joe Lynch answers the age old question, just how much action can you stage in a single room? The answer, not surprising, is a lot. Salma Hayek is the title character, a hooker turned informant who has just been discovered by her employer. Her mission is to stay alive over the next few hours in hopes she can save her family. And over that time, she'll be forced to stay in the apartment because of the seemingly non-stop barrage of people coming to kill her.

Written by Yale Hannon, from a story by he and Lynch, Everly sounds like a pretty simple movie and it is. It's also a Christmas movie, giving this one woman vs. the world, in a confined space, film a decidedly and deliberate Die Hard vibe. The film never reaches the heights of that classic, but it keeps us suitably engaged because we never ever know what's going to come through that door next. Read the rest of our Everly review below.

Everly begins with a gripping, action-packed opening that sets the tone for the entire first act. The scene gives us just enough information about the characters, situation, and goals to drive the story forward and make a non-stop barrage of gun fights and madness plausible. Once act two comes around, the pace of that first half hour slows down as Lynch and company give Everly a lot more humanity than you'd expect. It's welcome, and ultimately rewarding because of where the film is going, but it feels a little forced into this otherwise taut thriller. In particular, a scene between Everly and her mother gets overly melodramatic.

Thankfully, Lynch recovers by upping the ante on sheer craziness. Where Everly first just had to deal with lots and lots of well-armed goons, other people and things soon become distractions and the absurdity level rises right below the height where it would get eye-rolly. The frequent Christmas music helps in that too.

Hayek goes through hell in Everly, and the film is better for it. You really get the sense of wear and tear she's enduring over the course of this holiday evening. Still, the script and the actress do their best to keep things light. She's getting her ass kicked and kicking ass but there's always some realism and humor thanks to Hayek's performance.

Everly takes a simple premise and does a really good job with it. Some things are rough around the edges, but it's still worth your time.

/Film rating: 7 out of 10

Everly opens later this year.