“Jakob’s Wife” – Movie Review

The Barbara Crampton starring (and produced) indie darling that’s been making waves across the internet, finally dropped on Shudder today as an exclusive movie.  Jakob’s Wife is one part mid-life crisis story, one part marriage counseling story, and one party bloody vampire movie!

American Beauty Meets Fright Night
Opening during a church sermon, we’re quickly introduced to Pastor Jakob (Larry Fessenden) and his wife Anne (Barbara Crampton).  They remain beacons of stability and support for the community, tending to members and their personal problems.

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Being married to Jakob seems like a pretty boring life…

But behind closed doors, Anne is feeling anything but supported.  Trapped in a seemingly loveless and at the very least passionless marriage, Anne yearns to feel something, anything.  This drives her to have an affair with an old friend, but things take a shocking twist when he bites her, turning her into a vampire.

Suddenly, Anne feels more alive than ever, much to the surprise of Jakob.  She’s more confident and bold than ever before, all while dealing in an insatiable thirst for blood.  Their marriage is put to the test as Jakob realizes what she is, and then tries to help “cure” her.  But the movie begs the question of whether or not she could, or should be.

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A sign of a good spouse is one who helps you get rid of a dead body.

Performance of a Career
Barbara Crampton has certainly earned the title of Horror Legend, after a career spanning 4 decades, and countless classics.  She did seem to disappear from the limelight in the early 2000’s, but following her appearance in 2011’s You’re Next, she’s had something of a career resurgence, including as a producer (which she did for this movie).

Her performance in Jakob’s Wife very well may be the best of her career because she’s using all of this experience to her advantage.  The weariness we see in Anne reflects that of an actor whose had ups and downs over the decades, and it makes the character all the more relatable and poignant.

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It’s not easy to pull off being scary and sympathetic, but she does so amazingly.

Crampton has been in countless horror films with performances ranging from dramatic to intentionally campy and over the top.  But here, she pours her heart and soul into the role, and we feel like Anne isn’t just some character, she’s a real person we could know.

Bring on the Blood
While this movie does focus on the character arcs and drama, it never forgets that it’s vampire horror as well.  And it comes with all the visceral and gruesome gore that you’d come to expect with that.

Between characters ripping out throats, vomiting blood, and a really cringe-inducing scene involving a UV light on someone’s mouth, there’s plenty of blood and gore to satisfy the most dick and demented of horror fans.

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Technically it qualifies as monster horror.

At its core, Jakob’s Wife shows us that sometimes becoming undead is the only thing that can make us truly feel alive.  It features an amazing lead performance, and enough blood and guts to remind us it means business!

What did you think of Jakob’s Wife?  What are some of your other favorite Barbara Crampton performances?  Let us know in the comments!

Jakob’s Wife is currently streaming on Shudder

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