Low-key, contained action films like Everly don't have much to do to ensure their success; they also don't have much to live up to. Expectations are low but inspiration is scarce, and there's a sense throughout Everly that it's entirely content with surpassing the quality of film many might presume it to succumb to. What a shame that Joe Lynch hadn't strove for greater - he didn't have much more to do to ensure his film's success. A deficient screenplay from Lynch and Yale Hannon establishes a high concept with plenty of promise but little in the way of originality: a hooker fends off mercenaries in her apartment after her pimp puts a hit out on her life. Lots to play with there, and indeed Everly's chops as a bloody revenge thriller are solid, but there's as little invention in Lynch's interpretation of this scenario as there is in that scenario to begin with. Yielding to the peculiar notion that one's female characters become empowered either once they are granted dialogue or, preferably, weaponry, Everly chooses to grant all its women with one, the other or both, and demonises all of its men. It's a story of woman's struggle to escape and defeat her male captors and keepers, but secondary to its identity as a brutal action film, and only ever viewed from the perspective of the oppressed female - the film is actually founded on the premise that its women must be subservient. The same grotesque fear of sexuality that can be found in dozens of similar titles mingles with a significant streak of racism to turn Everly's middle act fairly revolting, as does its general lust for violence. Still, on many levels, this is a competent action thriller, and easily superior to many of those titles - beyond this purview, though, Everly is a bit of a stinker.