Adrian Lyne’s twisted, surreal 1990 psychological thriller “Jacob’s Ladder” has amassed a small cult following over the years with its story and pioneering visual effects being used to great impact in numerous other franchises (most notably “Silent Hill”).
It also had a massive twist at the end that reframes the whole film, one which seems overly familiar now but arrived at a time when such a twist was uncommon in these types of films. Tim Robbins starred in the movie as a Vietnam veteran whose experiences result in strange, fragmentary visions and bizarre hallucinations that haunt him.
A loose remake of the film was shot in 2016 and has been delayed several times now, though is finally expected to arrive this year. Now, that film’s scribe Jeff Buhler (“Midnight Meat Train”) has spoken about it recently and indicates the new version will offer a whole different twist. To go further requires going into spoilers so you have been warned.
The original “Jacob’s Ladder” closes out with Robbins’ character being revealed to have never left Vietnam, he’s been fatally wounded in combat with the events of the entire movie having been his dying dreams. Speaking with Rue Morgue, Buhler says the new take has the same spirit but is thematically quite different:
“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.”
The new take focuses on a pair of brothers (Michael Ealy, Jesse Williams) and also ties into the war in the Middle East. David M. Rosenthal helms the film which has yet to release any promotional material.