Anne, married to a small-town Minister, feels her life has been shrinking over the past 30 years. Encountering “The Master” brings her a new sense of power and an appetite to live bolder. However, the change comes with a heavy body count.

Cast:  Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Bonnie Aarons, Nyisha Bell, Sarah Lind, Mark Kelly, Robert Rusler, Jay DeVon Johnson, C.M. Punk

Directors: Travis Stevens
Writers: Kathy Charles, Mark Steensland, Travis Stevens

There are litres of blood spilled in Jakob’s Wife, but this is far from your typical vampire movie. There’s a not so subtle feminist spin on the subject matter here. It works well, but what carries this movie from being relatively straightforward and forgettable is the performances of the horror legends that star in the film. 

Anne (scream queen Barbara Compton) has lived a quiet and simple life following her marriage to Pastor Jakob Fedder (horror legend Larry Fessenden). She’s fallen into a position where her opinion seems to carry little value, and she has to watch from the sidelines day in, day out. People ask her husband for advice; she attempts to help, but her words fall on deaf ears. From the moment the film begins, this desire to break free is written all over Anne’s face. And break free is just what she does.

C.M Punk isn’t looking too happy with what he’s finding happening on the Pastor’s grounds this evening…

C.M Punk isn’t looking too happy with what he’s finding happening on the Pastor’s grounds this evening…

When an old high-school crush, Tom (Robert Rusler), visits and talks business, Anne ventures into a dark and, what they assumed, abandoned warehouse building. However, what they find within is more than just Anne’s longing for Tom; they awaken an ancient vampire who will come to be known simply as “The Master” (Bonnie Aarons). It all happens quickly: Tom is killed, and Anne is bitten, but she awakens refreshed and feels like a different person the following morning. She wants to dress differently, but she doesn’t feel the desire to play housewife anymore. This morning, Jakob gets to make his breakfast, and that’s just the start of things to come. 

Both Barbara Compton and Larry Fessenden inconceivably elevate this film from an average vampire-flick to something you can’t take your eyes off. The slight nuances to their performances can change a scene from melodramatic to believable drama. 

Jakob’s Wife does fall into darkly comedic at times, which may turn some viewers off. One of the key scenes early in the film has Jakob walking into the kitchen with Anne feasting on blood, to which she quickly attempts to cover herself, stating, “this wasn’t me!” With Jakob quickly firing back, “of course it was you!” Looking at the mess in front of him. Again, this scene could be ridiculous in the hands of less experienced actors, but between Compton and Fessenden, it’s pitch-perfect.

If you’re looking for a typical horror or vampire film, Jakob’s Wife isn’t going to meet your expectations. It’s weirder with an almost arthouse feel and tinges of enough dark humour to make it highly watchable. The final act left me wishing for something a little bigger in scope, but the final scene itself is a perfect closing image for the film and the themes Jakob’s Wife is attempting to discuss. Both the performances from Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden are possibly career-best, and the movie is worth a watch from horror fans for them alone.

Jakob’s Wife is streaming on Shudder from August 19th.