THERE ARE MILD SPOILERS. IT'S AN ANALYSIS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
EVERLY is arguably not a horror film, but because it contains some elements of real-life horror, a ton of kills, a lot of blood, and comes from one of the horror genre's biggest fans, I felt it necessary to include as part of this year's Women In Horror Recognition month blog series.
Promoted as "DIE HARD in a room," director Joe Lynch's thrilling shoot-em-up flick EVERLY would seem on paper to be just another run-of-the-mill misogynist action/horror film. The story follows the titular Everly, a prostitute who works for a brutal criminal overlord named Taiko. When it is discovered that Everly is being traitorous (by trying to bring down his organization) he promises that by the end of the night (sometime around Christmas) she will be murdered. He sends his men to torture, rape, and kill her, but Everly does everything in her power to fight back, and try and make it out alive. Prostitution, violence, rape, and torture are some of the quickest "go-to" storytelling tactics in a woman-hating film, but EVERLY is unexpectedly an incredibly feminist film.
ingenue. EVERLY is not an ingenue, but she is a dynamic and powerful role (with sex appeal) played by a woman that is pushing fifty.
Perhaps what is most surprisingly, is the angle of pro-sex workers in EVERLY. Before I go any further, I want to specify that "Pro" in this discussion means "not against." Think of it like being pro-choice. Pro-choice means "if you have an abortion, you're not a scumbag that deserves to rot in Hell" NOT "we should kill babies for fun." In the same way, being pro-sex workers doesn't necessarily mean, "everyone should start selling their bodies" but merely, "if you are a sex worker, that doesn't make you a bad person." On a basic level, the prostitutes are the toughest, because they're all in for themselves vs. the gang mentality of the men. Before it's discovered that these women are not prostitutes, but victims of human trafficking, they are still never regarded as "sluts," or "whores." Even those that refer to these women as "whores" are immediately reprimanded and made to look like the bad guys. Never once are these women "slut-shamed" for their line of work and never are they made to look like they deserve any of the carnage brought to them. If anything, this film is anti-trafficking and pro-woman because although these women are victims of a heinous situation, the audience is seeing everything through the lens of a woman who herself, is also a victim. We identify with these women and we empathize with them, anyone that says otherwise is immediately seen as a monster and we crave punishment for what they've done.
EVERLY is available on VOD services and will be available in theatres soon.
Joe Lynch and Adam Green's podcast THE MOVIE CRYPT has the exclusive list of dates and theatre locations. http://tinyurl.com/nxrn274