The general consensus is that when a female actor hits the age of 40, their career is pretty much over – or at the very least they’ll stop getting really juicy material. If anyone has been able to prove that belief wrong, it’s Barbara Crampton. Over the last several years the iconic scream queen has turned-in a series of great performances in a wide variety of roles – and Jakob’s Wife might be her finest yet. It would be easy (and lazy) to label Travis Stevens‘ latest effort as a vampire movie – it’s much more than that. Jakob’s Wife is essentially a relationship drama about a middle-aged couple re-finding (and redefining) their love for each other. It just so happens that the wife in the relationship is dealing with vampirism.
The film stars Crampton and Larry Fessenden as Anne and Jakob, a long-married couple whose relationship seems to be nearing its natural end after 30 years. He’s the respected pastor of their small town and she’s the dutiful housewife living in her husband’s shadow. However, their relationship takes an unexpected turn when she is bitten by a vampire.
The relationship between Crampton and Fessenden is what adds a layer of dramatic weight to Jakob’s Wife. If you removed the supernatural and horror elements of Travis Stevens, Kathy Charles and Mark Steensland’s screenplay, then Jakob’s Wife would work just as well as as a marital drama. Both actors deliver outstanding work and you fully believe that their relationship has a well-worn history. They’re both able to convey how the relationship changed over the passage of time and how it continues to evolve over the course of the film. You’re fully committed to their situation – even when it does take comedic and horrific turns. It’s like American Beauty with added bite.
Jakob’s Wife works well as a drama – but that doesn’t mean that the film lets the side down on the horror front. There’s plenty of blood and gore on display and Crampton appears to be having a ball as the a meek housewife turned blood sucking vamp. It’s a role what the horror icon can really sink her teeth into.
Rich in character and filled with plenty of bloody horror, Jakob’s Wife walks a fine line between relationship drama and horror-comedy. It’s a difficult line to traverse but Travis Stevens manages to pull it off – mainly because of the great chemistry between Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden.