After losing his brother in combat, Jacob Singer (Michael Ealy) returns home from Afghanistan — only to be pulled into a mind-twisting state of paranoia. Singer soon realizes that his sibling is alive but life is not what it seems.
David M. Rosenthal’s newest feature film Jacob’s Ladder is a kind of bizarre one to say the least. It is a remake/reimagining of the 1990 Adrian Lyne directed film of the same name, which was viewed as a critical success. While that original film certainly did not make a ton of money at the box office, in the years since its release, many view it as a highly interesting, thought-provoking and creepy horror movie with great performances, smart writing and good direction.
That is why it is somewhat confusing why there is a new 2019 remake of that film. It would have been okay if this new film had the same amount of intrigue that the 1990 film had, but it just does not. It fails on practically level.
The film actually does start off somewhat interesting surprisingly. I would say that the first twenty minutes or so do pose some thought-provoking questions for the viewer to ponder over, but the script never goes anywhere with it unfortunately. After that inital twenty minutes, the film gets extremely messy to the point where it can get genuinely confusing as to what is transpiring story wise. Keep in mind, this is coming from somebody that thought the original picture was really great.
But let’s talk about the best element of Jacob’s Ladder by far. It is Michael Ealy as the lead protagonist Jacob Singer. His performance here is seriously terrific. Throughout the film, he looks downright terrified and is constantly at unease when certain events happen to and around him. The performance he gives he is extremely raw. It is just a shame that he did not get a better movie to showcase his acting talent.
It is also not too long, and therefore, the film does not give you enough time to get invested into anything that happens. Right when somebody might be getting interested in the events that are happening, the film quickly comes to an end and it can be frustrating. The talent behind the camera and on screen is genuinely great which makes it so confusing as to why this movie ended up being a humongous dud.
The entire movie is about a man who is confused about what is happening around him. He is lost and is trying desperately to find answers to the questions he has. The ironic thing is that, by the end of the film, the viewer will be just as confused as Jacob as to what they just watched.
Jacob’s Ladder is a frustratingly bland, boring, and uninteresting remake of a beloved horror film, even if Michael Ealy delivers a great performance.
Overall Grade: D+
MPAA Rating: R for language, some violence, sexuality and drug content
Cast: Michael Ealy, Jesse Williams, Nicole Beharie
Directed by: David M. Rosenthal
Distributed by: Vertical Entertainment
Running Time: 89 minutes