Reviews | Written by Christian Jones 06/01/2022

JAKOB’S WIFE

Anne, who is married to small-town minister Jakob, resentfully wonders what has become of her life after thirty years of marriage. It seems that her identity is simply that of Jakob’s wife. Anne attends services, but she may as well be a piece of furniture for all the notice she is given. She cooks and cleans and is the Norman Rockwell portrayal of a dutiful wife, but it is a life of dreary drudgery. That is until Anne encounters 'The Master' and she is transformed into a vibrant, vivacious, powerful woman with a newfound lust for life, or should that be un-life?

For decades the standard vampire was a malevolent, savage, capricious monster. Then the bite was taken out of them when they became glittery, angst-ridden, tortured souls in countless teen romances. Thankfully, the monstrous vampire seems to be rising from its coffin once more as evidenced in Jakob’s Wife. That’s not to say that Anne (played to perfection by the incomparable Queen of Screams Barbara Crampton) is a soulless killing machine. Far from it. Anne’s transformation isn’t just vampiric, it unleashes the woman she longs to be. She finally finds her voice and dares to become a person in her own right. She expresses her opinion, takes control and steps out of her husband’s shadow. Naturally, her religious background and moral compass make the taking of another’s life abhorrent to her. The fact that she’s a minister’s wife is also problematic.

Larry Fessenden plays Jakob with warmth and humility when it would be so easy to play him as an overbearing, tyrannical husband. He’s content with caring for the spiritual well-being of his congregation. The fact is really that Jakob himself is in a rut although he seems comfortably oblivious to the fact and completely unaware that he takes his wife for granted.

Jakob’s Wife is more than just a comedic horror film. It’s as much a study of marriage and how familiarity can breed contempt. Anne and Jakob clearly love each other, but it’s a familiar love lacking spontaneity and attentiveness that Anne desperately craves.

Travis Stevens directs with the same finesse and assurance as he did with Girl On The Third Floor. He allows room for Crampton and Fessenden to explore their characters to the fullest whilst ensuring that the film doesn’t stray from its path of being a horror film. Comedy in horror films can sometimes feel forced and contrived., The comedy in Jakob’s Wife is natural, coming out of the situations that the characters find themselves in.

The extras are minimal. There’s a handful of deleted scenes that are interesting but wouldn’t have added a great deal to the finished film. There’s also The Making of Jakob’s Wife, which is the usual sort of making of… There are interesting nuggets such as Barbara Crampton, who also produced the film, adding the vampiric elements to the original screenplay.

Jakob’s Wife is a fun, smart horror film that, after all this time, has finally given the vampire back its bite.

Jakob's Wife is available on Blu-ray and DVD on January 10th.