Travis Stevens’ “Jacob’s Wife” is a film about the universal fear and horror of becoming a housewife. The film is based on a clever premise and runs seamlessly. It’s a great example of a B-movie done right: resilient and resourceful, with more ideas than special effects. In “Jacob’s Wife”, Stevens creates a thoughtful and very relatable world, a creepy story about what happens when your spouse steals your life.
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Barbara Crampton is Anne, a blonde, blue-eyed housewife with a blank face. She has spent the past thirty years in the background while her husband (Larry Fessenden) preaches to the largest congregation in town and advises on everything from marriage to baby making. Anne does the housework, gardening, cooking and cleaning, only to be annoyed by her husband chewing loudly at dinner and snoring loudly at night. So if your high school boyfriend (Robert Rusler) comes back to town, she is excited to feel a tiny spark of emotion again, although of course something terrible happens when they meet in a shady, abandoned watermill.
If the sounds and shifting shadows are a little strange, it’s probably just an old and creaky watermill. What none of the characters notice is that an ancient vampire is lurking on the premises drooling over his next victim. Tom loses his throat in a deliciously gruesome way, while Anne gets a hickey with permanent side effects. The next thing you know is she wears red skirts, eats her steak raw, and drinks blood from wine glasses while listening to Bach (you know, vampire stuff).
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Stevens’ script, Kathy Charles, and Mark Steenslandhas a lot of fun turning vampirism into feminist liberation as the new Anne takes matters into her own hands. Husband Jacob has to choose between his faith and his undead but revitalized wife, and he goes by his own I was blind now I understand Transformation, which ultimately means paying more attention to the woman he fell in love with 30 years ago. Plus, it means moving a few corpses his wife ate in the kitchen.
Woman, ”referring to a character in the Bible, is a slow burning thriller.
interrupted by a few explosively graphic moments. Stevens builds effectively
Tension, but he doesn’t create conventional fears, especially with one
Vampire in training as our heroine. Anne’s kills are more like that
Nosferatu on training wheels as she doesn’t really know what she’s doing.
“Jacob’s wife” only touches the highest register of violence at times, which makes you run away. It stays in the realm of moral, spiritual, human-scaled deaths and decisions, which makes for an even more explicit film. It’s an exciting (if sometimes preaching) look at the horrors of becoming a housewife and a splash of holy water on the demons of assigned gender roles. [B]
“Jakobs Frau” is now in theaters and on VOD.