Jakob’s Wife is a horror movie premiering at South by Southwest starring genre icon Barbara Crampton. The film is about a woman named Anne Fedder (Crampton) who is in a humdrum marriage to a pastor named Jakob (Larry Fessenden). After meeting an old flame, her life takes a sudden change. At first she thinks it is for the better; but what is Jakob worried about?
The movie is incredibly gory. There are buckets of blood spilled in Jakob’s Wife. The kills are not particularly creative, but they are very graphic. These moments will get a rise even out of the most hardened gore hound. An undercurrent of misogyny runs through Jakob’s Wife. The men in the film act passive aggressive in their best moments. The women of the movie are blamed for everything that happens and are constantly made to feel shame.
While it can be argued this is the main theme of Jakob’s Wife, it is delivered subtly. A veiled comment here and a furtive glance there lead to more obvious slights later. It is a natural progression that is well written. The film mixes laughs and scares so well that it would almost seem incorrect to call it a horror comedy. Jakob’s Wife is better described as a scary movie with some funny moments. In particular, Crampton stands out as the demure wife who wants more out of life.
Jakob’s Wife is also a story about true love. The relationship between Jakob and Anne is an interesting one that evolves with the film. Some moments may seem odd or even out of character, but they make sense in the context of a long relationship. It is refreshing to see a horror movie that draws so much obvious inspiration from the past. Sometimes, stories try so hard to be current or different, they lose all sense of fun. Jakob’s Wife tells a modern story through families horror conventions successfully.
SXSW is March 16 – March 20. Tickets and a full lineup can be found here.
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