Cult horror-film goddess Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond) gets the modern-day bloody vampire film she deserves in Jakob’s Wife, an appropriately uncomfortable, gory and often-funny effort from writer-director Travis Stevens.
Crampton plays Anne, the wife of preacher Jakob (Larry Fessenden). Anne’s life is a bit on the mundane side—that is, until she gets attacked by a vampire in an abandoned warehouse and gets “the thirst.”
The movie has an eerie, slow-burn start; it feels like an old-school, TV movie from the 1970s, even though the film is set in the present. It takes its time revving up, but when it pulls the rip cord, it goes off the rails in a surprisingly fun way. The movie then feels less like Salem’s Lot and more like the bonkers Stuart Gordon ’80s horror flicks that Crampton once was in.
This might be Crampton’s best screen work yet; Anne is a fully realized character that goes from church mouse to full-blown Nosferatu. Fessenden, another horror vet (We Are Still Here, You’re Next) chews the scenery with aplomb once his character has been sprayed with vast gushers of blood a couple of times.
The movie works, not only because of its creepy atmospherics and decent horror effects—the main vampire is a doozy—but because of its satirical script that takes a stab at routine marriages that lack a certain excitement. Anne and Jakob wind up being one of the more interesting screen couples in recent memory.
Jakob’s Wife is available for rental via various streaming sources.