'Lawnmower Man' in VR for the Snapchat Generation

Jaunt takes up the challenge of updating the cult classic for millennials

Jeff Fahey in the 1992 'The Lawnmower Man' Credit: New Line Cinema

Ever since virtual reality became hot in the tech space again two things have been inevitable: unfounded health scares and a VR version of The Lawnmower Man.

Jaunt, a virtual reality company with an app that exists on every VR platform going, has taken up the challenge, announcing today it had secured the rights to the film and a VR version would go into production this year.

"You have Snowcrash, you have Neuromancer and Ready Player One but in any conversation about VR, without a doubt, Lawnmower Man is brought up," says Tom Vance, head of content at Jaunt.

"It's ripe for reinvention. Looking back on the film we feel that there are things it did super well and things that we felt could be updated for a millennial audience to explore thematics that are relevant today."

The original movie, was released in 1992 (the same year Oculus creator Palmer Luckey was born, just to place it on the current VR timeline) and told the tale of Jobe Smith (Jeff Fahey.) Smith is intellectually disabled but after a chance encounter with scientist Dr. Lawrence Angelo (Piers Brosnan), exposure to cutting edge VR and some drugs, he becomes crazy smart and even gains a few special powers. Needless to say, that uplifting scenario is not where the film ends.

"Obviously the conceit of doing a VR show based in a VR world is something that we're really sensitive to," says Vance.

"What we really want to do is key into the broad thematics but really modernize those things. Exploring some of the darker sides of technology, some of the looming questions on the horizon as it relates to whether it's VR itself or being addicted to technology or people being addicted to their phones. The Snapchat generation posting their life at all times."

The project has only just been announced so there's no release date or cast, all we know is it will be a series, but it sounds like Jaunt is aiming for a Black Mirror take on an old classic.