This revenge thriller should play out like bad-ass Tarantino. Salma Hayek is Everly, a sex slave who attempts to escape the flat where she’s been kept prisoner for four years and slaughters a whole load of Japanese mafia bad guys on the way.
But the viewing experience quickly shifts from ‘how will Everly escape?’ to ‘I hope Everly’s inevitable death isn’t too grim’. She’s gang-raped, shot, stabbed and forced to watch her mother choke on acid – all while her baby daughter is in the next room.
The film successfully maintains its intensity by forcing us to witness ever-increasing levels of gore and violence, but there’s no payoff. By the end, Everly is exhausted and degraded, not basking in post-revenge satisfaction. Plus, the whole set-up is laced with misogyny. Female characters are repeatedly portrayed as foolish, Everly fights the baddies in stilettos and lingerie, and there’s even a gratuitous shower scene. This all feels especially grubby since we’re watching the aftermath of a rape. Salma Hayek could make a kick-ass heroine, but this movie’s nothing more than outdated torture porn.