Sunday, June 19, 2022

#2,771. Jakob's Wife (2021) - 2021 Horror Movies


Vampires, by their very nature, are the harbingers of death, but for Anne Fedder, the title character in 2021’s Jakob’s Wife, a bite from a vampire has the opposite effect; it gives her a new lease on life.

For 30 years, Anne (Barbara Crampton) has been the dutiful – and unfulfilled – wife of minister Jakob Fedder (Larry Fessenden). Hoping to liven things up a bit, Anne meets with old flame Tom Low (Robert Rusler), who is in town to assess whether or not a dilapidated mill can be transformed into a viable business.

Unfortunately, when Anne and Tom visit the mill, they find it is already occupied… by “The Master” (Bonnie Aarons), a monstrous vampire. During this encounter, Anne is bitten, and though frightened at first, she soon realizes that she’s never felt more alive!

And while a voracious appetite for blood might put a strain on any relationship, this “change” in Anne even has Jakob seeing her in an entirely new light.

Directed by Travis Stevens, Jakob’s Wife is a story about marriage in the guise of a horror film. Crampton delivers a bravura performance as Anne, the bored spouse of a holier-than-thou minister who undergoes a most unique transformation. The early scenes do a masterful job of filling us in on Anne’s situation; though she plays the role of the loving wife well enough in public, Anne is anything but satisfied, and in her eyes we see her growing contempt for Jakob, whose reliance on routine is slowly killing her inside.

Yet as convincing as Crampton is in the movie’s first act, she’s even better after her character’s run-in with The Master, at which point Anne experiences life as she never has before. While she does grapple with her new desires from time to time (especially the craving for blood), there’s rarely a moment when we feel Anne would have it any other way.

Fessenden is equally strong as the dull husband, and the later scenes when he's realized what Anne has become results in a handful of funny moments. Also quite good is Bonnie Aarons as The Master, a Nosferatu-like vampire who, despite her grotesque appearance, seems to have Anne’s best interests in mind.

Its loftier themes aside, Jakob’s Wife never forgets that it’s a horror film. There are moments that will make you jump, and more than enough blood and gore to go around (especially brutal is a scene involving the Fedders’ next-door neighbor, played by Ned Yousef). The fact that the movie leaves you with plenty to think about as well is just icing on the cake.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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