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Travis Stevens
Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Bonnie Aarons
Kathy Charles, Mark Steensland, Travis Stevens

A suburban minister's wife goes through a major transformation.
Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 98 min.
Price: $28.96
Release Date: 7/20/2021

• “The Making of Jakob’s Wife” Featurette
• 9 Deleted Scenes
• Previews


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Jakob's Wife [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 7, 2021)

With a title like Jakob’s Wife, one might expect a tale about a hard-working farm clan set in 1900s Russia. Instead, the 2021 flick offers a horror story.

Jakob Fedder (Larry Fessenden) serves as the minister in a small town. For decades, his wife Anne (Barbara Crampton) supported him in a dutiful manner, and she now starts to feel taken for granted and stuck in a rut.

When her former lover Tom Low (Robert Rusler) visits, Anne starts to think about a more exciting existence. After she meets “The Master” (Bonnie Aarons), she also finds herself with bite marks on her neck, a factor that leads her into a major transformation.

Crampton first earned some fame via 1985’s cult classic Re-Animator. Though she spent a lot of time on soap operas over the years, I think horror remains her calling card, and Wife finds her at home in this genre.

I’ll say this for Crampton: she appears unafraid to let the movie show her age. Granted, the story requires an actor well into middle age, as the narrative needs a person who looks like a longtime small town preacher’s wife.

Still, I appreciate that Crampton shows no vanity or attempts to hide the fact she’s in her sixties. One scene shows Crampton as she pokes and prods her aging face, with all sorts of wrinkles, sags and spots on display.

Beyond the lead’s unusual willingness to look her age, does Wife offer much to stand out from the crowd? Not really, as the movie offers a largely standard vampire story.

That said, Crampton does well as our lead. She conveys Anne’s timidity at the start and makes her transformation natural and convincing.

Indeed, Crampton unquestionably becomes the movie’s biggest asset. She delights in Anne’s changes and adds both menace and gleeful perversity to the role.

Fessenden gets the more thankless part but he does fine as the semi-clueless Jakob. He also grows into the character as the movie gives him more to do after a largely supplemental function in the first act.

Where Wife falters relates to its sketchy story. In a weird way, the movie seems oddly reminiscent of 1991’s Fried Green Tomatoes in that we see a mousy housewife awakened by an encounter.

Wife lacks the earlier movie’s pretensions, of course, but it also fails to find a particularly strong narrative. We really focus on character beats and the occasional action/horror scene but we don’t locate an especially compelling plot.

Still, Wife manages to maintain our interest, if just due to a fine performance from its lead. This never threatens to become a great vampire flick but it seems more than watchable.

Footnote: an extremely minor auditory tag appears after the end credits.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

Jakob’s Wife appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.00:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. For the most part, visuals were positive.

Overall sharpness seemed fine. A little softness impacted a few nighttime shots, but in general, delineation remained appropriate.

I saw no moiré effects or jaggies, and edge haloes didn’t appear. Print flaws also never became a factor.

The film tended toward subdued hues that mixed subdued teal and amber. These colors remained restrained and looked fine given stylistic choices.

Blacks seemed dark and tight, and low-light shots brought us reasonable clarity. They could be a little dense but not to a significant degree. This became a satisfactory presentation.

Heavy on atmospherics, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 added a little kick to the proceedings. Action shots showed nice involvement, and a few other sequences opened up the mix well enough. The movie lacked many standout auditory moments, but the soundfield created a decent sense of place.

No issues with audio quality emerged. Speech was natural and smooth, while music offered good range and dimensionality.

Effects came across as accurate and tight. Again, the track lacked a lot to make it excel, but it fit the story well enough.

Minor extras appear here, and The Making of Jakob’s Wife runs four minutes, 56 seconds and brings notes from actors Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Bonnie Aarons and Robert Rusler.

“Making” looks at story/characters, cast and performances, and what brought the director to the flick. “Making” offers a pretty superficial promo piece.

Nine Deleted Scenes fill a total of 13 minutes, 36 seconds. Most of these add minor exposition, with an emphasis on supporting characters. They tend to feel superfluous and would’ve slowed down the pace of the final flick.

The disc opens with ads for Son, PG: Psycho Goreman, and The Dark and the Wicked. No trailer for Wife appears here.

After a century or so of vampire movies, Jakob’s Wife does nothing much to add to the genre. Nonetheless, it becomes a moderately involving effort, largely due to a good lead performance by Barbara Crampton. The Blu-ray provides fairly positive picture and audio as well as minor bonus materials. Wife delivers a mostly engaging horror flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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