Jakob’s Wife Offers Convincing Proof That Horror Is the Ultimate Glow-Up – Gizmodo

Anne (Barbara Crampton) transforms from church mouse into supermarket supermodel.Image: Shudder

The story of a woman coming into her power after getting a supernatural boost is hardly a new onebut much like more traditional makeover narratives, its often rewarding enough to justify being so familiar. The most delicious version of this tale usually involves a frumpy lass becoming a glamorous villain, like Uma Thurman blooming into Poison Ivy in Batman & Robin, or the misfit girls of The Craft becoming dazzling teen dreams. Jakobs Wife, a new horror film coming to Shudder, walks the same path and with spectacular results.

Jakobs Wifethe new film from Travis Stevens, who directed and also co-wrote with Kathy Charles and Mark Steenslandangles in by centering the action in a deceptively mundane setting, and by giving us an endearing main character whose eerie transformation is more liberating than terrifying. It is, however, still a rather nightmarish experience for Anne Fedder (Barbara Crampton, star of Re-Animator, From Beyond, and Channel Zero, to name just a few), whose life prior to her sudden vampire encounter could kindly be described as despairingly dull. Married to Pastor Jakob Fedder (Larry Fessenden, whose acting credits include Youre Next alongside Crampton and The Dead Dont Die, and whose directing credits include The Last Winter and a segment in ABCs of Death 2), Annes played the role of a dutiful ministers wife for 30 years, cooking, cleaning, sitting through her husbands sermons, enduring his repulsive grooming habits, and holding her tongue every time he interrupts her or talks over her, which is often.

Jakob (Larry Fessenden) gets ready to stake some vamps.Image: Shudder

After a young member of the congregation goes missing, Anne sticks up for her, insisting that good people dont leave their families when people start suggesting the teen may have run off with a boyfriend. That belief is something Anne herself must grapple withfirst after a reunion with an old flame turns unexpectedly steamy, and then after shes bitten by a mysterious creature and feels something awaken inside of her. If she doesnt want to make Jakobs breakfast, wellshe aint gonna. Prim cardigans and cross necklaces are out in favor of red lipstick and dramatic wardrobe choices (good thing she has an extensive collection of scarves to hide those new holes in her neck). She also discovers she has super-strengthrearranging the living room was never so easy!and strong opinions of her own, the latter of which shed forgotten about after decades of acquiescing to her husbands point of view. Jakobs perplexed by her behavior, but Anne has never been happier, admitting, I feel more alive than I have in years.

The irony there is, of course, that shes technically less alive than before, though she isnt quite a full vampire yet. The hunger is becoming a pressing problem (its worth mentioning Jakobs Wife doesnt skimp on the spurting, gushing, gruesome blood, and critter effects... this is a vampire movie, after all!), along with other inconveniences, like the dangers of sunlight. Theres also the troubling yet titillating presence of the Master, the ancient vampire who bit Anne in the first placesomething that Anne begins to realize was no random attack. (To name the actor who plays the Master would be a Jakobs Wife spoiler, though you can easily find it online if youre curious.) In fact, calling it an attack maybe isnt quite accurate, considering how much Annes life has improved in its wake.

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Anne shows off her new hairdo, eyes, and teeth.Image: Shudder

For his part, Jakob rolls with the vampire stuff much more agreeably than he does with Annes newly assertive, liberated personalitytheres no hesitation when it comes to getting holy water and stakes together to try and hunt down the Master, in the hopes that killing the top vampire will instantly change Anne back to her old, meek self. Jakobs Wife doesnt take the easy way out with the Jakob character; he could have been just a closed-minded, misogynistic small-town minister type, and while there are some elements of that, hes more a guy whos just become so used to his comfortable routine that it doesnt occur to him to ever want to change it. Fessenden is very good as this oblivious, mildly boorish (but not monstrous) man whos stunned to realize that his wifes long been deeply unhappy in their marriage. But really, this movie is all about Anne.

Crampton is reliably great in everything, but we often see her using her blonde, preppy good looks to contrast with whatever nefarious character shes playing (see: her turn as an evil landlord on the most recent season of Creepshow). Here, shes just as effective as a good-hearted woman forced into a situation she wouldnt have chosenbut who ultimately realizes the power that comes with being able to choose for herself what happens next. Even if it involves guzzling human blood.

Jakobs Wife is currently available on-demand and digital; it arrives on Shudder August 19.

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Jakob's Wife Offers Convincing Proof That Horror Is the Ultimate Glow-Up - Gizmodo

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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