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Jacob's Ladder: Descend into madness with paranoid clip from 2019 remake

By Josh Weiss
Jacob's Ladder remake Michael Ealy

You thought the demons were gone? Nah, they were just getting warmed up, especially when you consider where they come from...Hell, we're talking about Hell.

In an exclusive clip from the upcoming remake of Jacob's Ladder, our main hero, Jacob Singer (Michael Ealy), is asked for help from a clearly disturbed veteran buddy (Joseph Sikora), who asserts that Jacob's brother (played by Jesse Williams) is still alive, despite an alleged death in Afghanistan. When Singer states that such a thing is impossible, the vet counters with the claim that not only is it true, but that Jacob's sibling is in the subway tunnels, running berserk from an experimental military drug meant to suppress PTSD in certain individuals returning home from war. 

Set in a dreary subway station, the clip is clearly an homage to the start of the original movie from 1990 were the main character (a troubled soldier freshly discharged from the Vietnam War, played by Tim Robbins) steps off the train and into a closed-off and eerie New York subway station. In addition, the aura of paranoia and the presence of a black-eyed demon help conjure up fond memories of the original, which was written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Adrian Lyne.

Check out the clip below:

When his brother does indeed return, Jacob begins to question his reality as he’s followed and terrorized by what he perceives to be demons, monsters, and agents of a far-reaching government conspiracy. The question, however, is whether it’s all real or just occuring in his head.

The real big change from the original is that of the drug, HDA, mentioned in the scene above. In the first movie, the drug (codenamed "the Ladder") was tested on soldiers to enhance their fighting abilities and endurance in Vietnam. In the remake, the dangerous pharmaceutical is meant to ameliorate painful memories of combat. That intriguing change, coupled with the use of the war in Afghanistan, helps highlight how the new movie updates its source material into the modern day. However, one still wonders how the ending of this project will tackle the famous twist reveal of the 1990 flick — a 29-year-old twist we won't spoil here in case you're still miraculously fresh to the material.

Another deviation is the fact that Jacob did not have a brother in the 1990 feature. Instead, Robbins’ character was dealing with the death of his young son, portrayed by Macaulay Culkin.

Helmed by David M. Rosenthal (The Perfect Guy, How It Ends), the remake co-stars Nicole Beharie, Karla Souza, and Guy Burnet. Jeff Buhler (The Prodigy, Pet Sematary) and Sarah Thorpe (according to IMDB, this is her first-ever credit) penned the screenplay.

The new Jacob's Ladder arrives in theaters and On Demand Friday, August 23. Watch the trailer here.

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