Jakob’s Wife is probably the best horror film I’ve seen at SXSW so far this year. There is just something so charming about it that you can’t help but smile through the bloodshed. Initially it’s darkly lit and depressing, much like the relationship in its narrative, the film eventually turns on itself to become perhaps the greatest middle-aged vampire glow-up story the world will ever see.
Anne Fedder (Barbara Crampton) is living her worst life within a boring and beige relationship. Her husband, Jakob (Larry Fessenden), a local pastor seems okay with the monotonous routines they dance through day after day. Unexpectedly Anne finds herself in a situation with an old admirer and is tempted by his advances, but before anything can happen he is attacked by a pack of bloodthirsty rats. Before Anne can escape she is confronted by a large caped presence.
This sets into motion a change in Anne that makes her crave blood, her skin photosensitive, and exhibit superhuman strength. It’s no spoiler to reveal any of this because it’s clear from the first 20 minutes what we are dealing with.
The real meat of the movie comes in the form of its graphic violence and surprising overstock of gore. There are also some genuinely humorous moments as the couple try to repair their relationship by banding together to fight evil.
This may be Crampton’s best role to date. She’s mostly known for her work in B-movies such as Castle Freak and Puppetmaster, but director Travis Stevens gives her so much room to breathe within a spacious script that it feels fresh given its over-used movie monster antagonist. Crampton also looks fantastic, if I can say that without getting canceled.
Adhering to the familiar bloodsucking lore that some filmmakers tend to apply artistic license to, Jakob’s Wife isn’t asking you to challenge the century-old canon. It is simply there to remind everyone about how relationships, like aging bodies, eventually become atrophied, but with a little cooperation and maybe a vampire kit, the odds won’t be so stacked against you.
Jakob’s Wife is a glow-up tale for the ages! It’s funny, it’s bloody and it will warm your bleeding heart.
[This review is a part of iHorror’s coverage of the SXSW Film Festival. Release dates and viewing platforms have yet to be determined in some cases. We will give you information on where to watch movies if any are applicable.]
Jakob’s Wife will be in theaters, On Demand and Digital – April 16, 2021
For other 2021 SXSW movie reviews click HERE.