Jacob’s Ladder (1990) is an American psychological mystery horror movie that is very confusing and interesting at the same time. Director Adrian Lyne (Unfaithful (2002), Fatal Attraction (1987), Flashdance (1983)) did an excellent job filming the movie in Puerto Rico and New York, USA. The film contains sexual content with nudity, extreme graphic violence, bad language, suspense, thrills, eeriness, intense moments, disturbing images and frightening scenes. I did not quite understand the entire movie upon seeing it once, but the second time around was the charm as I saw what I missed and understood the entire film. A lot of viewers will not like this movie because the answers are not laid out for them. Jacob’s Ladder requires viewers to use their noggins and figure out this drama-mystery movie as it presents itself.
Jacob’s Ladder started by showing us Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins - The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Mystic River (2003), War of the Worlds (2005)) on October 6, 1971. Jacob was with the 1st Air Cavalry Division Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War. His team was under heavy fire which resulted in many of his team members dying and the stabbing of Jacob in the stomach. The movie skips to the year 1975 where Jacob wakes up dressed as a postal worker in the New York City Subway tunnel with The Stranger book in his hands. I was a bit lost as the movie went back and forth between Jacob’s bizarre memories of Vietnam, memories of his lately deceased son Gabe, present life of being with mail carrier Jezzie and his ex-wife Sarah. There was just too much memories and chaoticness that viewers have to keep up with. Gabe died from a car hitting him before the Vietnam War.
Some of Jacob’s/Jezzie hallucinations/memories are graphically grotesque and should not be seen by those who has a weak stomach or is squeamish. Jezzie is not who you might assume it to be - watch the movie, and you will know/see what I am talking about. Jacob/Jezzie finds out that he is not the only one that is messed up with hallucinations. His past Army friends Paul ((Pruitt Taylor Vince - Constantine (2005), The Legend of 1900 (1998), Monster (2003), Natural Born Killers (1994)) told him that he is experiencing the same symptoms but died shortly after when his car mysteriously exploded. The movie began to make me think/feel that it is an experimental movie where Jacob is the project. Jacob and a few Army comrades decide to seek help from a lawyer to find out what happened to them, but the lawyer found out that Jacob and his comrades were never even in Vietnam. I would love to write more about the movie, but I will stop here and let you see what happens next to Jacob.
Jacob’s Ladder ended on a sad note leaving me to feel sympathy and sadness for Jacob. I cannot say more because I do not want to give away the twist ending, but I felt sorrow for over a half an hour after I finished seeing the movie. After viewing this film twice, I loved it and recommend it to horror fans that love a good mystery psychological movie that you have to solve. I gave this movie an eight because it was great in almost every way. The only flaws I found was a few goofs: Gabe dropped a Topps 1973 edition baseball card after he died in a flashback. A crew member is seen in the mirror when Jake leans down while putting his son to bed. The supporting wires on the demons wings in the party scenes can be seen. There are some more goofs that I noticed but too many to list. Overall everything else about the movie was excellent.
About Jacob's Ladder (1990)
Starring: Pruitt Taylor Vince, Ving Rhames, Christopher John Fields, John D. Bair, John Capodice, Elizabeth Peña, Jaime Perry, Jan Saint, Becky Ann Baker, Orson Bean, Jason Alexander, Bryan Larkin, Tim Robbins, Alison Gordy, Doug Barron, S. Epatha Merkerson, Brent Hinkley, Patricia Kalember, Bellina Logan, Raymond Anthony Thomas, Danny Aiello, Macaulay Culkin, Steve Baker, Stephanie Berry, Eriq La Salle, Matt Craven, Kyle Gass, Mike Stokie, Patty Rosborough, James Ellis Reynolds
Director: Adrian Lyne