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Anne Fedder (Barbara Crampton) in JAKOB'S WIFE

Movies

‘Jakob’s Wife’ breathes new life into a familiar story

A modern take on a familiar tale.

Warning! Minor spoilers for Jakob’s Wife!

Jakob’s Wife is yet another movie about a vampire grappling with their new found bloodlust. There are family members who have to come to terms with it and bodies that need to be drained. Most of all, the newly converted creature of the night has to come to terms with what they have become. If it sounds like you have seen it all before, that is because you have. 

But no movie has ever done it like Jakob’s Wife. Barbara Crampton’s latest film takes on many topics in new and innovative ways. Anne Fedder (Crampton) has been married to a small town minister (Larry Fessenden) for thirty years. She has grown increasingly frustrated until a chance encounter changes her life. 

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Jakob’s Wife is a different take on the frustrations of marriage. It is not played for camp nor are there long dramatic exchanges, though there are elements of both in the film. Giving a horror slant to a wife’s feelings of not being seen or heard is refreshing. Even better, Anne is not written to be evil or mad with power. 

This is one of the highlights of the story. There is never a reason to believe that what Anne is doing is wrong. (Well, maybe drinking human blood is not on the up and up, but other than that she seems well-adjusted.) Jakob’s Wife sees Anne become exhilarated thanks to the feeling of freedom she now has. Her new power has led to this feeling, but it is not the power she desires. It is the feeling of control over her life. 

Jakob’s Wife is also a love story. This is often found in vampire fiction, but the movie tackles it in a captivating way. Despite Anne’s unease with her marriage, she loves Jakob. This is reiterated constantly through her actions. It is the typical undying love of the genre, but demonstrated in an atypical way. 

This is seen most poignantly in the final confrontation with The Master. Anne is torn about what to do before becoming angry with Jakob. She is not mad over what he did, but the fact that he took the decision away from her. This leads to a great ending that will leave many questions. 

There is the obvious one about a sequel, but there are even more about the relationship between Anne and Jakob. The two have been through a lot together. Like any long term couple, the two have been put through a major test. The final scene leaves it up to the audience as to whether they made it through. And like any good love story, it questions what is success and failure. It just does so in its own way.

Jakob’s Wife premieres on Shudder August 19


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