With the screenplay by Kathy Charles, Mark Steensland, and Travis Stevens (who also directed), “Jakob’s Wife” points to that horror-comedy line, a line many directors struggle to navigate. But Stevens is aware of the comedic possibilities as well as the dramatic. The film does not sacrifice either. The stakes (wood and otherwise) couldn’t be higher. Both Fessenden and Crampton perform their roles with dramatic intensity, managing to be comedic and poignant, while creating three-dimensional characters. Fans do not need to apply! This is what it looks like when two very experienced actors dive into a storyline worthy of them. Crampton and Fessenden approach their roles with the utmost seriousness, giving the feeling of a real and complicated relationship between the pastor and his wife. Pastor Jakob de Fessenden is first seen lecturing his congregation on marriage, warning men and women to take on roles set out in the Bible. Outside the pulpit, he is insufferable and controlling. He never lets his wife finish a sentence. He expects a hot breakfast every morning. He barely looks at her.
Anne, meanwhile, simmers and bubbles. She is sitting on the bench, listening to her husband’s boast about the wedding, and the look in his eyes could turn water into ice. When he brushes his teeth, she looks at him with such contempt that you fear for his safety. Everything changes when Anne meets an old flame (Robert Rusler), and meets an invisible Something in an old abandoned mill. She comes home a changed woman. She can lift a sofa on her own. She is sexually alert. She has a sudden, insatiable thirst for blood. She wears gigantic Gena Rowlands sunglasses. She takes the reins of her relationship. More from Mrs. Nice Wife.
Vampires, in general, are not just immortal beings. They come with a lot of sexual baggage, and “Jakob’s Wife” is having fun with that idea. Vampires aren’t just hungry for blood: they exist in a state of sexual anticipation, in search of satiety, endlessly hungry. Maybe the sexual connotations come from the bite marks on the neck – that’s such an erotic way of ‘spinning’. Poor Pastor Jakob does not know what to do with this new wife, confident, frank, rebellious.
“Jakob’s Wife” takes a turn, just as Anne takes a “turn”. When Jakob finds out what his wife has become, in the most gruesome way possible, he awkwardly assumes the role of heroic vampire hunter, and the two embark on a quest to find “The Master”, the vampire who “s” returned ”his. Jakob proclaims, without any irony at all, “I am a Minister of the Lord. This is what I was formed for. To fight against Evil.” If Anne has been transformed, so has Jakob.