The upcoming remake of Jacob's Ladder has officially released its first trailer. The original film, which was written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction), is about a Vietnam war veteran called Jacob (played by Tim Robbins) who returns home and is plagued by violent, extended hallucinations of monsters in the city around him. Convinced that his visions are the result of more than just a bad case of PTSD, Jacob seeks out his old platoon-mates and tries to get to the bottom of what is driving him insane, only to find even more questions and confusion.
LD Entertainment, the production company behind such horror movies as Black Rock and The Collection, began financing a remake of Jacob's Ladder back in 2013, with screenwriter Jeff Buhler being brought onboard to write a new script based on an earlier draft by Jake Wade Wall (A Stranger Calls). Buhler is currently best known for adapting Clive Barker's 1984 short story "The Midnight Meat Train" into a script, the film of which starred Arrow's Vinnie Jones and Bradley Cooper. Promising a completely new twist on the story, the film officially went into production in 2016, with Michael Ealy (Almost Human) in the lead role.
As revealed exclusively by EW, the film finally has an official trailer. Also starring Jesse Williams (Cabin in the Woods), and Nicole Beharie (Black Mirror), the trailer is packed with sufficiently surreal imagery, both new and familiar to fans of the original. Not to mention a foreboding sense of tension throughout. Check the full trailer below:
Rather than dealing also with the death of his son, it would appear that Ealy's Jacob is dealing instead with the death of his brother, which occurred when they were both serving in Afghanistan. Having left the military in favor of becoming a surgeon in a VA hospital and raising a family, Jacob finds his world turned upside down when a stranger tells him that his brother is actually alive and living in an underground shelter. Jacob's life subsequently begins to unravel, as hallucinations intensify alongside paranoia regarding his brother and what he may have brought back with him.
Based on the trailer, the film looks to be every bit a faithful retelling of the original and also offering enough variations to warrant the remake's existence. Like the recent Hereditary, there are a lot of interesting themes and ideas to be explored through a surreal-horror medium. Images fans of the original will no doubt remember are all present - the ice bath, the pursuit of demons, and the callbacks to the character's time in the war. The dynamic between the two brothers, however, offers fresh potential and conflict. With a history that stretches all the way back to childhood and is apparently fraught with the tension that can only stem from a love triangle, there is a wealth of new threads to explore. Whether or not the film will conclude with as stunning a twist as the original remains to be seen. The trailer is certainly successful enough, however, in tantalizing the senses and intriguing the mind enough to at least attempt the journey.
Jacob's Ladder will be released on August 23, 2019.