Jacob's Ladder (1990) - Drama, Horror, Mystery

Hohum Score



Mourning his dead child, a haunted Vietnam War veteran attempts to uncover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation. To do so, he must decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusions, and perceptions of death.

IMDB: 7.5
Director: Adrian Lyne
Stars: Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña
Length: 113 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 49 out of 373 found boring (13.13%)

One-line Reviews (190)

While at first sight all this may sound too ambitious and contrived, Rubin makes it work and the final result is one of the most original movies (not just horror) ever written.

a confusing 3!

Yet the range of emotions that story took me through was something rare and much enjoyable.

As a whole I thought the story was very engaging & it hooked me, I think most people will want to see how this turns out & will want to follow it right through to the end.

I think this is a waste of time in spite of those benefits, and it took a while to put my finger on why.

It also provides an engaging narrative for his post-war 'life' - a reason to search for answers.

the fast-moving-head-people are enough to freak anyone out not to mention a trip down the basement hallway of a hospital ...

The bathtub scene is so gripping I almost believed he wasgoing to die.

I found the movie to be incredibly dull because I had figured out the ending twist 15 minutes in.

Jacob's Ladder loses some points though because it did move slowly at times, and was confusing at other times, but if you watch it through to the very end that confusion will fade and you will walk out of the theater still feeling strongly affected by what happened.

Nothing happens...

It touches on surreal, intense ideas.

A harrowing journey made pointless by a final plot twist .

Like an intense "Twilight Zone"; one of the best and most underrated psychological horror films to date .

however, there is hardly any sympathy for the character or his ordeals because of the shoddy script and confusing screenplay.

The visuals are as compelling as they are horrific.

This film is twisty and at times confusing but also very compelling.

jacob's ladder is a messy confusing movie, that leaves the audience in a daze and wondering just what in hell happened.

A scary movie, and somewhat difficult to follow.

It seems that most of the people who rated this movie poorly found it to be confusing.

And Lyne and Co. mistake loud and gross for compelling and atmospheric; the film plays like one prolonged hysterical note of randomness.

What remains is a gripping, terrifying, well-acted and directed thriller whose success must be measured by the continual impact the film has to this day, and not by its initially questionable box-office figures.

The manner in which the plot unfolds in small pieces which keep the viewer just as confused and in the dark as the protagonist is, is wonderfully confusing and interesting, as nothing is obvious or boring.

Confusing and Went Nowhere.

I enjoyed it much more after a second viewing .

Compelling stuff.

deeply involving,intriguing- until the end.

The tone is suitably dreary with low lights, dripping rain and shadows.

Jacob's Ladder is an overlong, pretentious character study along the lines of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", as well as "Carnival of Souls"...

Jacob is plagued by waking nightmares, visions of demons, confusing allusions to his past and a son (a pre Home Alone Macauley Culkin) who may have died, or never existed at all, all combined with a general sense of dread that almost seems to crawl out of the screen and choke the viewer.

It is intense in a way that nothing else I've seen is--in a deeply spiritual way.

*** A haunting, exciting film.

If you aren't and don't, then it's just a slog of dull events with a color palate to match.

A sub-plot about Robbins' young son (played by an uncredited MacCaulley Kulkin) having been killed in a bike accident adds to the confusion.

Gripping, watch carefully .

The score is really somber and quiet and some of the images splashed across the screen actually felt quite tedious.

The tone is suitably dreary with low lights, dripping rain and shadows.

Anyway, this is a highly fascinating and entertaining thriller about a Vietnam veteran who always feels like there is somebody or something "out to get him".

Many would say the story of Jacob's Ladder is rather predictable or maybe I'm just new to this area that I didn't grasp what the film truly meant.

All the subtle things that previously seemed bizarre and confusing become very meaningful and strikingly brilliant.

Intense, thrilling, unpredictable!

Extremely entertaining.

The acting is absolutely stunning.

Like an intense " Twilight Zone" with more than its passing resemblance to Ambrose Bierce's "An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge.

After the riveting opening deep in the Vietnam jungles we are introduced to Jacob Singer (a never better Tim Robbins), a New York postal worker troubled by dangerous and disturbing visions, visions that could be linked to his tour in Vietnam, or something much more sinister.

Pena is pretty good and Aiello is enjoyable even if I didn't totally understand his role in the context of any of my theories.

Worst movie ever.

Jacob's Ladder is a compelling psycho thriller with elements of reality and surrealism coming to a psychedelic spin, leaving the viewer gasping for air and hoping that it's all a bad dream.

The final plot resolution is both unsurprising and unpredictable, given the confusion of themes in the movie, and leaves us feeling we've just watched a two-hour episode of the Twilight Zone.

Stunning, Atmospheric...

The finish of the film is as rewarding as the body of it promises and then some: a stunning plot twist which, despite its unexpectedness, stands up to the scrutiny of close plot examination.

Some of my favorite scenes are: - Jake's first train ride (incredible symbolism); the scene where Jezebel has a dance with an unexpected dance partner (so full of Old Testament imagery); any scene with Danny Aiello (why didn't he get an Academy Award nomination?

Jacob's Ladder remains one of my all time favorites, despite being at times, confusing, disturbing and horrific.

We are pushed along through this maze with Jacob, making the experience as frightening and confusing for us as it is for him.

One of those rare gems that came out unexpected from all the garbage and triviality of modern cinema....

What a fascinating movie.

This film is a bit of a slow burn and perhaps too arty for many horror fans.

The story is tight and dense on so many levels with its mix of stunning revelations and metaphors that seem to flow from one too another.

If you look at most of the critical reviews on here most of them say something like "this movie is confusing" or "I can't understand it".

It is a little odd and you are sort of just dragged along as the character of Jacob Singer is introduced.

This is an excellent and engrossing film, brilliantly acted and directed and one you will always remember.

A so-called "rubber reality" in which the main character is completely unaware that they are perceiving reality differently than it truly is, this film creates a constant and unadulterated mood of confusion and bewilderment, as protagonist Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) struggles to deal with his PTSD induced hallucinations.

Simply put: "A confusing mystery of confusing confusion".

Threaded through the surface of the dense epistemological and metaphysical parable is another gripping story about experimentation with mind-controlling chemistry in the Viet Nam war.

An engrossing and nightmarish journey into Jacob's mind .

This film is an unnerving and compelling journey the whole way.

At 113 minutes, the film is also way too drawn out: as 'Occurrence at...

surprisingly intriguing.

Dark, weird, surreal, unpredictable and provocative are some words to describe director Adrian Lyne's intense psychological film.

The film teases us with the possibility that it might go completely off its rocker, but the ending, though probably quite a plot twist at the time before there was an entire industry of plot twist movies, ties everything up with a disappointingly literal and dull bow.

It is easy to get lost in flashbacks and disjointed story line and it is difficult to sort out reality from the imagined -- as planned by the film's creators.

"Jacob's Ladder" is a very scary, surreal, and confusing film, and it's told entirely from the point of view of Jacob Singer, a man suffering from PTSD who begins to believe he's being pulled into hell by demons.

When talking about movies, many people tend to quickly dismiss the artistic values and overall quality of the horror genre by describing it as a clichéd, predictable and juvenile source of entertainment; and while probably most of the popular and well-known horror films do tend to have those characteristics in common (as after all, they are meant to sell), the really good movies of the genre are the complete opposite of that idea, and often are as worthy of praise and study as any other good film.

I recommend this movie to people who enjoy Intense Thrillers and Mystery movies that make you think and keep your interest with a great storyline and likable characters.

This film, though not easy to watch is one of the most riveting, compelling, challenging films I have ever seen.

The movie can be a bit of a twist, but honestly, it's pretty predictable.

Its never boring , though the story is a little hard to follow.

The movie can be a bit confusing as it shifts back and forth between Jacob's chaotic memories of Vietnam, to this prior war memories, and then back to his present life as a mailman.

A fascinating parable of the modern age, for the most part intelligently told.

Aided with a gripping story the venture into the mouth of madness keeps "Jacob's Ladder" an enthralling piece of cinema, albeit somewhat diluted as ideas and concepts used in the movie have been rehashed by the genre, making this original movie lose some of its punch.

I guess this movie is like a labyrinth with multiple paths, all of which are confusing.

the inclusion of this scene would have dispelled much of the confusion about this movie

Aside from all the biblical references, "confusing" flashbacks, and substory about mortality I found it very difficult to watch this film, although I was enjoying it.

The visuals are stunning, and this has some of the most unique camera angles i've ever seen.

It is an intense psychological drama, a descent into madness, a realization of truth, and an ascent into clarity.

Another downfall of this film is that even though I was interested in what will happen in the film, it's really uninvolving and dull.

" He feels pain, and sickness, and above all confusion as to why he feels like he's "losing his mind.

Director Adrian Lyne stimulates the right-brain with abstract images and sounds while providing just enough logic to keep you engaged - you're trying to piece together the jigsaw while wandering what the hell is going on, it's a strangely engrossing experience.

I would also highly recommend it to others.

And its an intriguing puzzle to boot.

Today, psychology has been replaced with cliché and story has been replaced with CGI.

" Overall Jacob's Ladder is a good movie with an excellent cast and intriguing story.

This is the only movie that does it right by presenting it in the most unexpected fashion possible.

It's an intriguing perspective into a heightened mind during a visceral heart-pumping experience such as the Vietnam War, where secret experiments with hallucinogens were utilised as a means to increase aggression.

This anguishing and intriguing story is one of the most original and unique I have ever seen, and has been plagiarized many times mainly in the foregoing mentioned "The Jacket".

Varying wildly between intense and sombre moods, the film's conclusion is one which had me in tears, which not many films have the power to do these days.

A confusing movie over all that desperately lacked an ending, and which found me leaving the cinema with only one word in my head to describe the experience: Weird!

He's just as much of a pretentious dick on the DVD documentary as you can tell he is by knowing that he wrote Ghost.

I found Jacob's Ladder to be a remarkable meditation on life and death and an extraordinarily compelling piece of film-making.

The result is a complex, fascinating film with an extraordinary cast.

After this realization, the whole movie becomes a bunch of pointless scenes with no stakes.

Aside from all the biblical references, "confusing" flashbacks, and substory about mortality I found it very difficult to watch this film, although I was enjoying it.

), but I guess Vietnam is such a movie cliché that it couldn't be avoided.

Very intense, scary and unsettling depiction of one man's fight to remain sane.

And then, when it is over, and everything makes sense, it leaves you feeling empty and drained, even moved to tears.

It brings up some good subjects, jumps a lot back and forward from dreams and reality, and i guess somewhere in between i got lost a tad, and in the end i was rather confused, when i had just seen the movie i thought something like "f*** i didn't get the end 100%", and that actually made me want to rate it worse than i did here, but when i think back at it, the movie was actually quite enjoyable and it kept me to my seat all the way through, so even though i found some parts confusing and unexplained i still think it was a well made psychological thriller, i should see it again to be honest, because i think the pieces would fall easier in place the second time you see it.

A Profound and Riveting Film .

Still there were some areas that dragged on or could have been omitted all together.

"Jacob's Ladder" is a thrilling, hellish journey through madness and delusions.

Geek teenagers that think about themselves as movie freaks and watch old movies may find this one thrilling and exciting.

Nonetheless deeply atmospheric much in the manner of "Videodrome" or "Harry Angel" and with rough bleak camera work predominant in the era, keep it a classic worth watching.

It is a viscerally frightening film that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Anguishing, Intriguing, Original, Unique .

It combines elements of psychological thriller, hallucinatory spook show, and conspiracy story to make for entertaining viewing.

Everything is well balanced and exceptionally original and unpredictable that one does not want it to end despite knowing what is going on and the physical torture one goes through identifying with the main character; it is not a magical escape from reality filled with tender feelings and feel-good moments a la Forrest Gump, be aware.

The visuals were stunning and the music was so sad!

This is not a straightforward film, but what makes it especially compelling is Lyne's direction together with Jeffrey L.

He is literally chased by confusion, fear, and death, he sees unbelievably terrifying images, has horrific experiences that whether real or imagined are too frightening to bear alone.

Lyne's directing is crucial in being able to be disjointed while being somewhat coherent and captivating.

But all in all, I thought it was a really intense movie and I loved it.

The basic set-up is nothing new, but Adrian Lyne's deft direction, coupled with Rubin's outstanding script, makes for a fascinating film.

From the opening scene the viewer is immersed in horror - one doesn't know whether this is real or imagined.

The unexpected ending adds up nicely to the other elements to make this one a true classic.

anyway: a gripping, intelligent, well-crafted experience.

In an instant Jacob is brought forward in time, from 1971 to 1990, riding an empty New York Subway car in Brooklyn going to his job in the Post Office.

Very emotionally affecting, engaging to watch and quite profoundly sad .

What made this movie so confusing is that he kept switching from dream and reality.

Jacob's Ladder is very dull and bleached out and has this unique and significantly depressive way about it that makes you almost sad as you're watching it.

diploma, the intense sexual relationship, the larger than life character that he is - after ph.

The acting in this film was amazing, the effects were stunning, and you walked away in a state of awe.

DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ 。 ANY SPOILERS"Jacob's ladder" is very powerful, intriguing, and dramatic.

Adventurous vision still permeates through the screen with Cronenberg-influenced atrocities harrying Jacob and a tentative atmosphere of suspense building an engrossing movie, albeit flawed by overreaching ambition and lack of directorial competency vividly apparent.

On first viewing, it is incredibly disorientating, tearing you from utter pain and confusion and dropping you into warmth and safety with no warning.

The wacky crew of the Jacob's Ladder can always make me laugh out loud ever afternoon after a long, tiresome day of high school.

After you see the ending your first instinct will be confusion, mostly because of how we, as normal people process information on a linear time scale.

The ingenious plot is filled with a lot of surprises and is incredibly unpredictable because ambiguity fills every corner, making nothing seem quite like it is.

Intelligent, thought provoking, and yet slick and entertaining just like a really good movie should be.

If you're looking for something that's boring, slow, tedious, stupid, and has a "plot twist" that you can see coming 30 minutes into the movie, watch this.

The story constantly flips back and forth introducing new characters and time periods, becoming borderline confusing at parts.

He is then dragged through a seemingly hellish hospital, where they tell him he is dead and experiment.

Tim Robbins' performance is flawless and fascinating.

The movie is quite thrilling as mentioned, it's a complex and complicated history that really leaves you thinking a lot, if you're into stupid movies this is not for you, this is an intelligent thriller that demands a lot of thinking from you, it's complicated though at times.

This is a very compelling story, with a satisfying ending.

Set against a dreamlike, sometimes nightmarish landscape in which Singer slowly slides farther and farther away from reality, we are subjected to an intense, flash-forward, toward a point where our protagonist must let go of a past he can never forget, and a future that he will never know.

As mentioned earlier the images are surreal and terrifying as is the slow descent into madness that we as audiences feel.

Very intense and powerful along with things which can be believed .

Really just boring .

It creates an emotional empathy with Jacob as he experiences his pain, confusion, demons,flashbacks, and an good deal of suffering, that is rare in such a film (the empathy is the rare bit).

It can be considered classic or whatever but this movie is boring, melodramatic and no longer relevant as cinematic experience.

Gripping and depressing ...

It casts an atmosphere that is both mysterious and compelling, and can be interpreted in a number of different ways.

This is an entertaining and scary film with a great performance by Tim Robbins.

An intense, creepy psychological thriller with an amazing ending .

Perhaps that is why it is so deeply haunting and engrossing, because it raises so many questions about the meaning of reality and the subjective nature of perception.

I think I've written a short story that had a similar concept of this film, but getting to the point, it was predictable and really disappointing.

The viewer will feel the main character's (Jacob Singer) confusion and sympathise with his personal cause.

The ending is brilliant, the story is intriguing and the actors are inspiring.

Confusing and Complicated but still worth watching .

Terrifying, disturbing but ultimately fascinating .

Every second of this movie kept me on the edge of my seat.

Whatever the writer and director intended, it was a very well done and engrossing work.

Although a definite case of "style over substance", Adrian Lyne's movie is nonetheless powerful and compelling viewing, although overlong and a little slow in parts.

Tim Robbins' performance is flawless and fascinating.

Other than an attempt to make her eye candy (something this film does not need), Peña is rather bland and more gets in the way of Robbins' performance than she does add to it.

Though the plot and story line are extremely complicated and even confusing, it is the story of everyman; of how we will all deal with our ultimate destination.

Jacob learned about "the ladder", an unusually intense hallucinary weed he and his platoon smoked in Vietnam, and he believed what was happening was he was still.

His themes are chewed up, the plot seems banal and clumsy, many dull moments.

Reality is blurred to hellish extremes in this film, making it a disturbing yet fascinating experience.

" Still, it's fascinating , involving and enjoyable to watch.

This isn't the scariest movie ever, but it's an intense one.

Simply One Of The Most Fascinating Horror Films Ever Made .

Jacob is creating his own house of hours, as his brain throws visions of battle and past danger in his now mundane life, and as an intimate and involved viewer (with this film it is almost impossible to feel removed) one is included in the feelings of terror and confusion.

This film breaks many rules, purposefully confusing the viewer about the limits of reality and the truths in the film.

Each time I was immersed in the story and lived the main character's nightmare along with him.

I simply want to add to the flow of amazed and contented viewer as the tribute to those who achieved such a high level of entertaining work.

There are frequent frightening elements mixed with paranoia, confusion and ordinary day-to-day life.

Rubins' story is compelling in the way that it juggles its elements and keeps its viewers on their toes.

It subtly freaks the viewer out sort of David Lynch style (dreamy) but I prefer it to Lynch's stuff as it's much more disturbing and enjoyable.

But at times, confusing too.

It was, however, a rather disturbing movie about a Vietnam veteran whose rather mundane life is going to pieces by strange visions.

Lyne directs with a really cold air and it makes the film all the creepier; but he also gives us enough of a human story so that flashes of Singer's family, children and dead son are rather moving and engaging.

Complex and multi-layered, Rubin takes Jacob (and us with him) through hell and back in his quest for an explanation to what is happening to him, but given the unpredictable nature of his mental condition, there is never an only answer to the bizarre series of events that happen in his life.

Jacob's Ladder is very mainstream kind of movie, with the exciting plot and beautiful visualization, plus excellent acting.

intriguing study on the psychological impact of war .

you are unable to think, act, or even believe apart from the intense feelings Jacob's Ladder inspires.

Not exactly, a wringing endorsement, but I do think it's worth watching.

I will not give it a rating out of 10, just will tell you that I enjoyed it immensely.

As mentioned earlier the images are surreal and terrifying as is the slow descent into madness that we as audiences feel.

The party scene is a classic sequence but there's a bit too many slow bits like Jacob's and Jezebel's domestic home life .

The characters are tragic and bland in nature, all portraying people that are in desperate situations or stuck in a terrible rut.