The upcoming remake of cult horror classic Jacob’s Ladder will feature a new plot twist. The original movie starred Tim Robbins as Jacob Singer, a Vietnam war vet struggling to fit back into society following his experiences and the death of his son (Macaulay Culkin). Jacob soon begins to suffer terrifying hallucinations of demonic creatures, and fears he’s either going insane or his visions are the result of a chemical he was exposed to during the war.
Jacob’s Ladder was directed by Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction) and while it wasn’t much of a hit upon release, it soon gained a cult following on video and DVD. The movie has a number of famous sequences, such as Jacob trapped in a subway or being wheeled into a blood-soaked hospital, and many of the film’s special effects were pulled off in-camera. Test audiences were so shaken by the original cut that Lyne trimmed 20 minutes from the third act, including a sequence where Jacob takes a “cure” for his visions, leading to a particularly horrific hallucination.
The disturbing, psychological nature of Jacob’s Ladder doesn’t make it an easy candidate for a remake, but a new take directed by David M. Rosenthal is due for release sometime in 2019. In a new interview with Rue Morgue, screenwriter Jeff Buhler (The Prodigy) reveals the remake will be a contemporary take on the story and features a new shocking twist.
The concept is really about the experience of coming home and readjusting, which is very present and poignant in the original film. Tim Robbins is a soldier who’s readjusting to life and feels like a stranger in his own city and to his family, so getting those concepts out there and really living in that space in our film was important. Then we came up with a cool twist that’s different from the one in the original, but has that same spirit: You’re following this story with these characters, and then all of a sudden everything gets flipped on its head, and you’re like, ‘Whoa! Things are different than I thought.’
Buhler also spoke of the new Jacob's Ladder's grounded approach to the hallucination scenes.
I put in a ton of that and then I think in the final cut, there’s less of it. It’s pretty grounded, but there are definitely moments when the surreal stuff is there. We tried to lean into the practical approach that Adrien Lyne used, where his effects were almost all in-camera and done live on the set, and come up with stuff that would utilize those same techniques. Some of the classic images that you would expect in JACOB’S LADDER are in there, but then there are some different things.
The new Jacob’s Ladder focuses on two brothers and the war in the Middle East will be the backdrop. The remake has been a little mysterious so far, with no images or trailers released or even a confirmed release date. It sounds like the filmmakers want to make a respectful update of the concept that doesn’t just copy Lyne’s version. The twist ending of the original revealed the film was a death dream Jacob experienced as he lay dying in Vietnam and struggled to let go of his life. That twist has been borrowed and ripped off by plenty of other movies in the years since, so the remake is right to offer up something fresh. Whether the new twist works as well is a different question.
The original Jacob’s Ladder has been influential on other movies and video games, too. The Silent Hill franchise has borrowed a few images from it and The Sixth Sense plays with a similar premise. It's hard to imagine the remake will hold the same power, but at the very least, it appears to be trying something new.
More: The Prodigy Movie Review
Source: Rue Morgue