For his sophomore outing in the director’s chair, Travis Stevens (Girl on the Third Floor) he serves a refreshing take of the vampire tale through the lens of a middle-aged couple who have lost their zest for life. Anne (Barbara Crampton – Re-Animator), the titular character has been playing the role of the dutiful pastor’s wife in a small rural town for the past thirty years, bottling up her emotions and constantly under the shadow of male oppression. This is exactly how the nosferatu preys on this weakness, hunger for new victims or brides to bring into her fold.
Pastor Jakob (Larrey Fessenden – The House of the Devil) is equally lost in his world. Set in his ways and with no real vocation, he has succumbed to the rituals that his position has provided to him.
When tempted by an old flame, Anne falls into seduction and it awakens a dormant part of her life. This too coincides with the arrival of the Master (Bonnie Aarons – The Nun) and soon she begins to pick apart the remnants of the town.
Anne reaches a crucial crossroads in her life… choose her existing life, give-in to the darkness, or find a way through turmoil and create a new path of her own.
In many ways, Jakob’s Wife defies the stereotype of middle-aged life where Stevens presents the world as a slow-paced, dull exposition, but as soon as the first kill happens, this world and our expectations get suddenly thrust onto its head. With every kill that follows, there is no holding back and the blood pours forth to the extreme. This choice in direction is what keeps us engaged and coupled with his two leads in Crampton and Fassenden, we’re provided with some depth to the extreme circumstances with some dry humour to make sure we stay tuned in.
It’s a painfully slow start and I thought that it was going to drag, but it then suddenly unleashes with a lot of fury.
While it struggles to keep the momentum going, Jakobs’ Wife inflicts enough torment to satisfy and keep you engaged with a peppering of decent humour to boot.
- Saul Muerte
Jakob’s Wife streams on Shudder from Thursday, August 19th.