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Jakob’s Wife Review

July 24, 2021 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Jakob's Wife
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Jakob’s Wife Review  

Jakob’s Wife Review

Barbara Crampton– Anne Fedder
Larry Fessenden– Pastor Jakob Fedder
Bonne Aarons– The Master
Nyisha Bell– Amelia Humphries
Sarah Lind– Carol Fedder
Mark Kelly– Bob Fedder
Robert Rusler– Tom Low
Jay Devon Johnson– Sheriff Mike Hess
C.M. Punk– Deputy Colton (as Phil Brooks)
Omar Salazar– Oscar
Angelie Denizard– Eli
Ned Yousef– Naveed Al Amin
Giovannie Cruz– Mariana Al Amin
Armani Desirae– Little Girl
Skeeta Jenkins– Butcher

Directed by Travis Stevens
Screenplay by Kathy Charles, Mark Steensland, and Travis Stevens

Distributed by RLJE Films

Not Rated
Runtime– 98 minutes

Buy it here


Jakob’s Wife, directed by Travis Stevens, is a fascinating horror movie that probably takes itself a bit too seriously. Featuring top notch performances from both Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden, Jakob’s Wife would probably resonate more if it leaned into the weirder aspects of its story and tried to be funnier. It doesn’t need to be an outright comedy or anything like that, but I think that if didn’t take itself as seriously as it does it would be a better movie. Even in its imperfect state, Jakob’s Wife is still quite good and something that horror movie nerds, not to mention Crampton and Fessenden fans, will enjoy.

Crampton stars as Anne Fedder, a super bored and annoyed housewife married to small town minister Jakob Fedder (Fessenden). Married to Jakob for thirty years, Anne is tired of the way Jakob treats her (for one thing, he always interrupts her and never lets her complete a sentence or a thought. He also, to a degree, treats her like a cook and maid, not a full partner with a higher value) and wants more out of her life. When old flame Tom Low (Robert Rusler) arrives in town Anne decides to hang out with him and catch up. While hanging out with Tom, Anne realizes that they still have chemistry and she kisses him, immediately regretting it because, while she’s deeply dissatisfied with her husband and life, she doesn’t really want to leave Jakob. As she explains to Tom, Anne loves Jakob and doesn’t want to throw away all of their history. It’s at this point in the story that they are attacked by rats (well, Tom is attacked by rats and just about completely devoured) and Anne is bitten by a vampire.

Now, at the time it happens, Anne doesn’t know that she’s been bitten by a vampire. She just knows that she was attacked by something and that she has bite marks on her neck. As time goes on, though, she realizes what has happened. Anne tries to hide the bite marks on her neck with scarves, she likes to hang out in the dark, and she has a sudden need for blood. Anne also develops a sort of confidence that she didn’t have before. Jakob notices that Anne has changed, but he doesn’t why his wife has changed. Jakob attempts to talk to his brother Bob (Mark Kelly) to see if he has any insight into what’s going on. Neither Bob nor his wife Carol (Sarah Lind) know what’s going on exactly, although Carol knows that Anne met Tom and Carol meets with Anne to find out how the Tom meeting went.

So some stuff happens, Anne experiences more weird vampire phenomena (she has super strength, she has real issues with high intensity light, she has weird dreams where she sees The Master vampire), and Jakob decides to do some investigating of his own into where Anne has been/who she has interacted with the last few days, etc. After finding out about the Tom meeting, Jakob heads to an abandoned factory that Tom was visiting and is attacked by a vampire. Jakob isn’t attacked by The Master, though. The vampire in question kills a young male that just so happens to be in the building and has history with Jakob, and Jakob heads back home. When Jakob gets home, he finds Anne writing on the kitchen floor, licking up the blood of a neighbor that Anne has killed (we see Anne kill the neighbor, Navid, played by Ned Yousef). Suddenly, Jakob realizes what’s going on.

Anne, his wife, is now a vampire. What the hell is he going to do about it, though?

The general build to this revelation for Jakob is quite good. You can see Jakob sort of piece it all together as he figures out what the hell is happening with Anne. And the scenes where Anne is dealing with her newfound vampire feelings are, at times, brilliant. At the same time, though, this is where the movie would have been better/more memorable if it had leaned into the seeming absurdity of what was going on. Vampires? In the real world? How the hell is that happening? And why is it happening? The bloody vampire violence is shocking but it’s also kind of tweaked, just not tweaked enough. Blood tends to spray everywhere but it probably doesn’t spray enough. The vampires are animalistic and terrifying but also ridiculous. It’s hard to balance goofy and scary at the same time and make it work, which is why I assume director Stevens didn’t push the movie’s elements to their extremes. But, again, that’s what should have happened. The material wants to go to those extremes, it needs to go to those extremes, but Stevens holds back.

The second half of the movie is also quite good if too overly serious. The movie never really explains how Jakob or, really, anyone, knows how to combat a vampire, which is a huge problem. I mean, yes, through pop culture everyone “knows” what kills vampires/how vampires act in the world, etc. But Jakob’s Wife doesn’t feature anyone turning into a bat; Anne, after becoming a vampire, can walk in the daylight, and the presence of rats is never explained. So will holy water work against a vampire in this movie? Yes. Crosses seem to work, too. But why? And how? What are the rules? Again, the movie never explains any of this stuff. People just seem to know what to do. Is the scene where Jakob has a Dracula book supposed to explain this part of the story? What’s wrong with explaining the rules? How does that take away from anything?

The Master vampire, played by Bonnie Aarons, is definitely nightmare inducing when seen in full light. Resembling Nosferatu and the vampire from Tobe Hooper’s Salem’s Lot, The Master is also apparently female, which is a nice twist. The Master’s make-up is quite exquisitely gross. It’s definitely a look that will live on in horror fandom via posters and whatnot. The other vampire makeup we see in the movie is pretty good, too. The vampire teeth seem to be a little different than typical vampire teeth but they work and are terrifying.


Barbara Crampton does a great job as Anne. She makes you understand her pain and feelings of, for the lack of a better word, helplessness, in her relationship with Jakob simply through her eyes and it’s terrific. And when she gains confidence after becoming a vampire it’s cool to watch Crampton make Anne practically a new person. I do wish that Crampton had had the chance to, in essence, go full bore insane with some of her scenes, like her first vampire attack, and the whole “Anne’s mouth is burned by the teeth whitening machine at the dentist’s office” scene. There’s comedy there that the movie just doesn’t want to get into for some reason. Crampton would have no doubt killed it with that direction. Maybe we’ll see more of that in a potential sequel?


Larry Fessenden is terrific as Jakob. You can tell that, in a way, as the town’s minister the weight of the world is on his shoulders (or at least he feels as though it is, and I mean this in the spiritual sense). And yet Jakob is totally oblivious to Anne’s feelings of inadequacy and anger and he doesn’t know that he’s oblivious. You want him to figure it out and become more attentive to Anne’s feelings. I mean, Anne still loves him. She doesn’t hate him. Jakob just doesn’t fight for her. He takes her for granted all of the time. It’s maddening. But you, like Anne, can’t hate him. My favorite aspect of Fessenden’s performance is how Jakob won’t swear and gets upset when people cuss around him (don’t say goddamn in front of him). Even when he’s in the midst of a vampire attack/infestation he won’t swear (the closest he will go is “It’s f’ed up”). I wish the movie had more of that kind of thing in it.

The rest of the movie’s performances are generally good but not quite as memorable as the two leads. Robert Rusler has some nice moments as Tom but he isn’t in the movie long enough to really matter. C.M. Punk pops up at the end of the movie as a cop that has no idea how to react to what he’s experiencing but seems to be acting in a different kind of movie (it’s like he’s in the “this movie should be more of a comedy or at least more comedic” movie that I think it should be). Armani Desirae is funny as a little girl that wants to learn more wear words (I’m sure her scene will live on for eternity on YouTube). And be on the lookout for the great Skeeta Jenkins as a grocery store butcher that helps Anne get some blood (the movie could have used more of him, too).

Jakob’s Wife is a generally good horror movie. I think it takes itself a bit too seriously, but it has two great performances from stars Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden and a great looking master vampire. The movie should be funnier, or at least it should lean more into its story’s absurdity. It’s still worth seeing, though. I liked it quite a bit, even with its flaws/missed opportunities.

See Jakob’s Wife. See it, see it, see it. Jakob’s Wife is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and all major Video on Demand platforms starting July 20th, 2021.


So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 7

Undead bodies: Maybe 4

Explosions: None.

Nudity?: Yes.

Doobage: A mouse in a parking lot, a circulating fan, a church, a minister’s sermon, a young woman walks through town, mace on a keychain, an attack from behind by something, blasphemy in church, multiple interruptions, a dinner party, domestic hooey, makeup hooey, an old factory, an impromptu kiss, a jump scare, two crates, a rat attack with bloody aftermath, a very loud tea kettle, a bloody blouse, a panic attack, exercising, scarf wearing, marijuana, a hot red dress, an impromptu dinner date at a fancy restaurant, steak eating, wine hooey, a brief bed altercation (I don’t know what else to call it), bacon making, grocery store hooey, steak touching, blood licking, a living room dance with impossible-and-yet-it’s-still-happening furniture moving, mega barfing, a weird bath, a bad dream, a messed up but hilarious public masturbation scene, worms in the garden, worm eating, a messed up dental visit, bloody throat ripping, Bible attack, throat slashing, more blood licking, blood mopping, stake through the chest, more scarves, dead body burying, a dilapidated fence, holy water attack, decapitation, jealousy, hitchhiking, knife to the throat, boob touching, impromptu floor sex, marijuana smoking, dead body removal, cops, invisible force attack, rat decapitation, rat head eating, even more throat slashing, a voice coming through a nasty gash in the neck, a backyard confrontation, attempted public seduction, stake through the back, body melting, and an ending that suggests things are not what they seem.

Kim Richards? None.

Gratuitous: Larry Fessenden, Larry Fessenden as a minister, Barbara Crampton, Barbara Crampton as a minister’s wife, post sermon hand shaking, a woman walking down a sidewalk, Barbara Crampton massaging her own face, Barbara Crampton working out and gardening and making food on the stove, a cop saying “goddamn” in church, Larry Fessenden brushing his teeth, Larry Fessenden snoring, Robert Rusler, rats, Barbara Crampton talking to herself in the mirror, Larry Fessenden eating a steak, Skeeter Jenkins, Barbara Crampton drinking a glass of blood while rearranging the living room, Barbara Crampton masturbating in the window, new teeth, gold mirror cross touching, Larry Fessenden refusing to say the “F” word, Barbara Crampton trying on multiple scarves, domestic issues, impromptu floor sex, Larry Fessenden’s ass, Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden smoking marijuana, a little girl that wants to learn new swear words, talk of Adam and Eve, C.M. Punk as a cop, and an ending that suggests things are not what they seem.

Best lines: “Who’s that?,” “How many times do I have to tell you not to take the Lord’s name in vain?,” “Tom Low? Your old flame?,” “Well, tell Tom I said hi,” “I was surprised you ended up marrying Jakob,” “What’s wrong, Anne?,” “Who are you? What do you want?,” “Let me finish my thought goddamnit!,” “Anne! What are you doing?,” “I’m going to tongue fuck a hole in your neck until I puke blood,” “Is she having a heart attack?,” “Something… happened, Jakob,” “This is so… F’ed up!,” “Why didn’t you tell me when this first happened? I could have helped you,” “Are you jealous?,” “I didn’t come here to sit in the car,” “Are you ready? What do you mean ready?,” “Will you stop with the Sunday School crap!,” “I knew you’d wuss out,” “You’re a goddamn coward!,” “With one gesture this could be very messy,” “Die or thrive. Choice is yours,” “This thirst is getting unbearable,” “I’m sorry I talk over you sometimes. Thank you,” “That looks heavy,” “Run. Don’t look back,” “Carol? What in the hell are you doing?,” “What, exactly, do you want, Anne?,” “They’ll never accept you now,” and “What are you doing?”

The final score: review Good
The 411
Jakob’s Wife is a fascinating horror movie. I think it takes itself a bit too seriously, but it has two great performances from stars Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden and a great looking master vampire. The movie should be funnier, or at least it should lean more into its story’s absurdity. I think the movie would definitely hit more if it embraced its weirdness. It’s still worth seeing, despite its issues. Crampton and Fessenden fans will not be disappointed. See it, see it, see it. Jakob’s Wife is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and via all major Video on Demand platforms starting July 20th, 2021.

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Jakob's Wife, Bryan Kristopowitz