It’s clear from the trailers and posters for Evolution that director Ivan Reitman wanted to recapture some of the magic that made Ghostbusters, one of his earlier films, one of the most successful comedies of all time. The heroes in his new film do battle with alien lifeforms, rather than supernatural spooks, but otherwise, the mix of carefree humour and oversized special effects, combined with an outrageous product placement at the film’s climax, has a familiar feel. Dan Aykroyd even appears in a small role. But there’s one major problem with Evolution — it isn’t funny.
It’s been almost ten years to the day since The Silence of the Lambs came out, and I still have vivid, terrifying memories of the experience. What lingers with me most is not the sight of rotting corpses with insects tucked inside their mouths and patches of skin carved from their backs, nor Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter’s brilliant but grisly escape from prison. Rather, the image seared onto my brain is the ultra-tight close-up on the serial killer’s nipple ring. The first time I saw that film, it had sold out so quickly that the only seat left to me was in the very middle of the very front row. The screen towered I-don’t-know-how-many stories above me, and the sight of a finger twiddling with that bit of jewelry just freaked me out, especially blown up to that size.