This movie is so heart wrenching, it never fails to get me right in the gut when I watch it. I’ve seen it at least five times and it is definitely another “stick with ya” kind of movie. I don’t normally enjoy movies that deal with war, especially the Vietnam war, but this one is certainly a different animal altogether. The movie opens up with Jacob and his battalion in Vietnam. They are joking amiably and generally just kicking it while they are not under attack by the vietcong.
Things go south, not surprisingly, and Jacob is injured pretty badly. Flash forward to a few years down the line where he’s living in New York with his girlfriend Jezebel. Suddenly Jacob starts seeing some odd things. A tail peeking out from under the coat of a homeless man on the subway. Little glimpses of what look like monsters. He thinks he’s going crazy at first, but suspects that the army has something to do with all of this. And his old army buddies agree with him. At first anyway.
This is one of the first movies to do the whole super quick head shaking kind of effect that we see in so many modern horror movies. That was probably not the best way to describe it, but I think you get the picture (hopefully anyway). For being an older movie, the special effects are very well done and I can very distinctly remember the first time I watched it. I was much younger then I am now, probably too young, when I saw it initially. The steady progression of madness really escalates the fear level. Tim Robbins does a wonderful job portraying his character, and his range of emotion is very convincing.
Jacobs chiropractor is such an interesting character too, it is implied multiple times that he is “like an angel” and he serves as a source of wisdom throughout the film. He is a kind of anchor for Jacob, keeping him sane. Or relatively so.
This movie didn’t win any oscars or anything, but it is a very deep and thought provoking film. It will leave you feeling introspective and quite a bit sad. I cried, I’m not going to lie. There is a good reason why I have watched this as many times as I have. So give it a try, what have you got to lose? Other than a few tears that is.