SXSW: Jakob’s Wife – Reinvention By Way Of Bloodletting

Jakob’s Wife is Travis Stevens’ directorial follow up to Girl On The Third Floor. Written by Kathy Charles, Mark Steensland and Stevens, Jakob’s Wife centers on Anne (Barbara Crampton), the wife of a small town minister (Larry Fessenden) who feels she has been shrinking away, fully absorbed by her “church mouse” pastor’s wife role over the course of the last three decades. Her husband often talks over her, dismissive, and she is largely unseen. Everything changes when Anne has an unexpected encounter, and she becomes absolutely unleashed. This movie takes so many elements of favorite horror films from a bygone era, throws them in a blender and smoothly pours it back out- an entirely new cocktail elegantly mixed with just enough modern updates to make it fresh, refreshing, and brand spanking new.

Barbara Crampton as an often overlooked housewife, reclaiming her power, her voice, her sexuality and her sense of self is a joy to watch. Dripping in dark humor and an absolute bloodbath of gore that quite literally shoots and sprays in a delightful deluge. As Jakob reassures Anne, “This is what I was trained for. To fight evil.” I can’t help but recall another line from a member of the cloth in regards to fighting evil, “I kick ass for the Lord!”. In addition to all the wacky wonderful being delivered here, Anne’s fashion evolution was a special treat in itself.

Overall, this was a really fun one. Seeing it with an audience, the right audience in a midnight movie type setting would really set this unfettered, full throttle. It knows exactly what it is, so it cuts loose and allows free range to play with an abundance of sanguine soaked scenes and dark humor. We don’t get very many lead characters like Anne, middle aged housewives are not typically central to the story and that’s a damn shame. Crampton lifting furniture and dancing with abandon to Concrete Blonde is a prime example of one of these cutting all the way loose moments; but it also has a message at the core regarding relationships and our lives, who we become, how we become. A commentary on feeling stagnant and clawing, gnashing our way out of that stagnancy with fangs bared, to reclaim a sense of self. A journey back to the self, or maybe even becoming the best version for the first time.

Jakob’s Wife premiered as part of the SXSW Midnighters series, and will be available on Shudder in April.

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