Blu-ray Review: ‘Jakob’s Wife’ (2021)

People change as they get older. It’s just a simple fact of life, especially for couples. Sometime they grow together. Sometimes they grow apart. And, in the case of Jakob’s Wife, sometimes they grow fangs and develop a thirst for human blood. Shit happens. All you can do is roll with the punches that life throws your way and adapt to every new situation that is laid out before you.

People change, but Barbara Crampton sure hasn’t. A scream queen titan of the 1980s, Crampton appeared in such genre classics as Re-Animator, From Beyond, Chopping Mall, Castle Freak, and Body Double. Three decades later, her genre bonafides are no less impressive, with her latest run including You’re Next, We Are Still Here, Run Hide Fight, and The Lords of Salem. We can now add Jakob’s Wife to that list.

Who is Jakob’s wife? She’s the spouse of the local minister. While she might have had dreams of a more adventurous life journey and her own career in her younger years, Anne Fedder (Barbara Crampton) has resigned herself to the fact that she’s now simply the wife of Pastor Jakob (Larry Fessenden, Habit & Wendigo). However, through a bizarre chain of events that involve an ex-lover (Robert Rusler, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 & Vamp) and a seductive vampire (Bonnie Aarons, The Nun), Anne is now at a crossroads as middle age continues to set in. Does she forsake her new “gifts” to retain the same rote lifestyle that she has had for decades with Jakob? Or does she embrace the renewed passion for life within and carve out a new path for herself going forward? You’ll have to see for yourself to find out.

This is an indie vampire flick with far more on its mind than just bloodshed and the undead. Is it ever too late to change your life? Can you accept drastic changes in your lover or your loved ones? Are we allowed to be more than just someone’s partner? Can lost individuality ever be regained? These are the kind of themes that one often sees in arthouse dramas about aging couples, so the fact that we get death and destruction on top of that is a real bonus. I love pulp horror as much as the next person, if not moreso, but the best horror stories can still work as pure dramas with the horror elements lifted out of them. Jakob’s Wife very much succeeds on that front.

This marks of the second film from producer-turned-director Travis Stevens. While I enjoyed his Clive Barker by way of Sam Raimi debut, Girl on the Third Floor, this is a step up from that film. It’s a big enough leap that I honestly can’t wait to see what he makes next. Ditto for Crampton as a producer. This was a passion project for her, one that she spent years developing, and it’s not hard to see why. This part is tailor made for her and she knocks it out of the park every single step of the way.

Jakob’s Wife isn’t a perfect film, but it’s just the kind of quality indie horror outing that I hope for every time I sit down with a new entry in the genre. It’s no wonder that Shudder and RLJE Films scooped it up. Both companies have really been delivering the goods of late with the majority of their acquisitions and this is no different. More of these, please!

The disc audio/visual presentation itself is top-notch and it contains a short “Making of” featurette. We are also treated to a few deleted scenes, as well as trailers for other recent Shudder-related offerings like Psycho Goreman, The Dark and the Wicked, and Son. As good as the film is, this release could have done with some more extensive “Making of” material or at least an audio commentary. The film is worth owning regardless, but it deserved a bit better than this in the extras department.

Jakob’s Wife is a horror film. It was directed by Travis Stevens, from a screenplay by Kathy Charles, Mark Steensland, and Travis Stevens. The film was produced by Barbara Crampton, Bob Portal, Inderpal Singh, and Travis Stevens. It stars Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Bonnie Aarons, Nyisha Bell, Sarah Lind, Mark Kelly, Robert Rusler, Jay DeVon Johnson, Philip “C.M. Punk” Brooks, Omar Salazar, Ned Yousef, Giovannie Cruz, and Monica L. Henry.

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