Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Double Movie Review: Jacob's Ladder versus House

Since it's Halloween time, I'm going through my collection and watching a bunch of horror movies that I've never seen before. I didn't plan this, but the last two I watched - Jacob's Ladder and House - have practically the same setup despite ending up in completely different places.

Jacob's Ladder

Tim Robbins plays Jacob, a Vietnam war veteran who lost his son and has issues with his ex-wife.

He begins having visions and hallucinations, before seemingly jumping around in time whenever he is unconscious. He then spends the rest of the movie figuring out what is happening and dealing with his past.

While I do recommend Jacob's Ladder, be warned that it is not so much a horror movie as a psychological drama. The horrific elements, while awesome when they appear, are few and far between. It's more about the mystery of what the hell is going on, which keeps the movie interesting throughout. It also helps that Jacob's hot girlfriend spends most of the movie naked.

House

William Katt plays Roger, a Vietnam war veteran who lost his son and has issues with his ex-wife.

(No, not the House with the caustic doctor....though come to think of it, Jacob's Ladder sounds like a medical drama too).

Whereas the main character in Jacob's Ladder is haunted by his troubled past as manifested in flashbacks and barely-seen shadowy figures, the main character in House is haunted by his troubled past as represented by monsters who want to rip his fucking head off. It is far less subtle, and gets cheesy pretty quick. Once he opens that closet at midnight, fucked-up things just keep happening non-stop until the end of the movie. It's not winning any awards for brilliant writing or emotional depth, but it's a hell of a good time to watch. It also helps that Norm from Cheers spends most of the movie naked being Norm.

Both of these movies are about two decades old, but neither feels dated. I recommend both, but if I had to choose, I'd go with House. It's cheesy fun, with more creativity in it than most of this year's horror movies put together.

Soon, I plan on watching a movie that clearly owes a lot to Jacob's Ladder: Silent Hill. I'm also playing the latest Silent Hill game (Homecoming). I'll probably blog about both.

4 comments:

Jack said...

I like Jacob's Ladder better, but I think House would be easier to watch repeatedly. I really enjoyed House II, too.

Mark Wilson said...

I need to go back & see Jacob's Ladder. I really liked it the first time I saw it but I can't remember a thing about it.

sunmyst said...

It's been a while since I've seen Jacob's Ladder - but I remember I really liked it... def need to watch it again.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.