JAKOB’S WIFE (2021) Reviews and release news

 

‘Who’s your master?’

Jakob’s Wife is a 2021 American horror film about a woman married to a small-town minister whose beige and banal life is about to change.

Directed by Travis Stevens (Girl on the Third Floor; Better Off Zed) from a screenplay co-written with Kathy Charles (Castle Freak) and Mark Steensland (The Special). Produced by Kim Barnard, Morgan Peter Brown, Barbara Crampton, Rick Moore, Inderpal Singh (The Hoarder) and Travis Stevens.

The movie stars Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Sarah Lind (The Blackburn Asylum; The Exorcism of Molly Hartley; WolfCop), Bonnie Aarons (The Nun; The Conjuring 2; Drag Me to Hell), Robert Rusler (Blood Feast 2016; Amityville: A New Generation; A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge) and C.M. Punk (Girl on the Third Floor; Rabid).

The great synth soundtrack score was composed by Tara Busch making her feature debut.

 

Plot:

Anne Fedder (Barbara Crampton), married to a small-town minister named Jakob (Larry Fessenden), feels her life has been shrinking over the past thirty 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…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“We get a story with a good message mixed with intriguing vampire lore and a bit of a dark wit throughout. Larry Fessenden is fantastic as Jakob and brings enough dry humor and heart to play off of Crampton. They make for a fun duo who should lead more films together. Jakob’s Wife is a blood-soaked good time that gives Crampton the role of her career.” Arrow in the Head

“It’s a unique spin on one of horror’s oldest tales, shot through with some biting social criticism about the insidious darkness lurking beneath the most seemingly banal of relationships. Featuring a career-best performance from Barbara Crampton at its core, Jakob’s Wife is a gory and crowd-pleasing horror-comedy that feels perfectly-suited for these times.” Bad Feeling

“Independent of how successful or unsuccessful Jakob’s Wife is with its horror, humor, and observational commentary on codependent commitments, everyone familiar with the two stars and their ardent admirers can agree on one thing. Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden are fantastic in the film.” Culture Crypt

Jakob’s Wife is truly a vehicle to showcase Crampton’s diverse talents, proving she is skilled at hitting the dramatic beats of her role as Anne, but also she’s wickedly funny at times here as well […] As a whole, Stevens has done a great job with injecting some new blood into the vamp-centric subgenre with Jakob’s Wife…” Daily Dead

“Both a homage to classic vampire stories and a tribute to Barbara Crampton’s own film legacy, Jakob’s Wife already had great bones thanks to Mark Steensland’s award-winning screenplay […] Peppering in real-life connections from Crampton’s own marriage and life allowed for a much more personal and realistic depiction of complacency, grounding the story when things start getting gloriously out of control.” Dread Central

“This is a horror-comedy that says so many things about so many things about relationships, marriage, and gender politics, but it’s also a blood-soaked blast of fun. If Stevens’ first movie, the very good Girl on the Third Floor, could be described as “goopey,” this one can best be called “f*cking drenched.” F This Movie!

“The minister is at first put off and afraid of a wife with her own identity, and it’s a fantastically worthy dynamic, but it’s gone too soon to be replaced by dead body shenanigans, energetic canoodling, and goofy hijinks. These beats work, but they’re part of a somewhat disjointed whole.” Film School Rejects

” …when it finally pivots to comedy, neither the director Travis Stevens or his co-screenwriters Kathy Charles and Mark Steensland show much affinity for comedy. There aren’t any jokes that really land and there’s little in the way of physical comedy as if it’s a depressed person’s idea of a horror-comedy. The scares aren’t anything to write home about either…” Goomba Stomp

“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 […] Jakob’s Wife is a glow-up tale for the ages! It’s funny, it’s bloody and it will warm your bleeding heart.” iHorror

Jakob’s Wife brings us a vampire story with the less-used rat motif with fantastic makeup and practical effects but does not become a religion versus vamp plot despite the introduction of the pastor character. Instead, the movie stays committed to the initial domestic turmoil shown in the first few scenes and lets Anne develop her own story (but with some new complications).” Killer Horror Critic

“Perhaps a bit uneven, with some messy plot points and a woefully underused and underdeveloped villain, it’s nevertheless a joy to watch — owed almost entirely to the stellar performances of Fessenden and Crampton. Stevens asks his stars to carry the weight of this film on their capable shoulders, placing an especially heavy lift on Crampton, and the veteran icons more than deliver.” Morbidly Beautiful

“It should be wild, weird, and fun. Sadly, Stevens stumbles combining comedy and high-concept horror. Settings of warehouses, parking lots, and muddy gardens give a grubby aesthetic that gets grosser as gloppy special effects rain down. One scene after another ends without comedic flourish or a button punch line, creating a lumbering pace bled dry of energy.” RogerEbert.com

“For a movie that is heavily invested in personal relationships, the film never gets bogged down, and it is entertaining from front to back […] So, come for the great character development and actor commitment, and get a side helping of fountains of caro syrup blood to go with it. The movie was tailor-made for both Crampton and Fessenden, and they were a joy to watch on screen.” The Scariest Things

“Sporadically enjoyable when it leans into the madness of the story its telling, Jakob’s Wife suffers from a pretty serious identity crisis […] Even the Crampton/Fessenden chemistry can’t pull Jakob’s Wife out of the disappointment pile, which is a shame, because I think there’s a solid film in there somewhere, it’s just not on the screen.” Screen Anarchy

“There are some neat streaks of black comedy running through the film […] But that side does not overpower the character drama. The film does not shy away from blood either and we get a few very bloody attacks. Larry Fessenden offers simply one of the best performances I have seen him give but the show is stolen, very much, by Barbara Crampton who is magnificent.” Taliesen Meets the Vampires

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Release:

Jakob’s Wife had its world premiere as part of the Midnighters program at the virtual South by Southwest festival (SXSW) in March 2021.

RLJE Films released the film theatrically and On-Demand on April 16, 2021. Shudder will premiere the film on its platforms worldwide later in the year.

Choice dialogue:

The Master [Bonnie Aarons]: “Die. Or thrive. The choice is yours.”

Anne Fedder [Barbara Crampton]: “I’m sick alright. My thoughts are drenched in blood. Rivers of blood.”

Cast and characters:

Barbara Crampton … Anne Fedder
Larry Fessenden … Pastor Jakob Fedder
Sarah Lind … Carol Fedder
Bonnie Aarons … The Master
Robert Rusler … Tom Low
C.M. Punk … Deputy Colton
Nyisha Bell … Amelia Humphries
Mark Kelly … Bob Fedder
Jay DeVon Johnson … Sheriff Mike Hess
Omar Salazar … Oscar
Angelie Simone … Eli (as Angelie Denizard)
Ned Yousef … Naveed Al Amin
Giovannie Cruz … Mariana Al Amin
Armani Desirae … Little Girl
Monica L. Henry … Doctor Meda
Skeeta Jenkins … Butcher
Kathe Newcomb … Mattie

Filming locations:

Canton, Mississippi

Technical details:

98 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.75:1

Trailer:

YouTube reviews: