What's better than a single Barbara Crampton film review in a day? Why, two, of course.
Jakob's Wife was a pet project of the iconic actor, who had apparently spent years trying to bring the script by Kathy Charles, Mark Steensland, and director Travis Stevens to life.
She is quoted on IMDB as saying:
"I read it and I was immediately captivated. I hooked up with Bob Portal at Alliance Media Partners and it took many years for us to develop the project and put it together."
In the film, Crampton plays Anne Fedder, the dutiful but downtrodden wife of a boorish, small town minister, Pastor Jakob Fedder (Larry Fessenden).The film wastes no time in getting to the meat of its storyline when an attractive girl, Amelia Humphries (Nyisha Bell), disappears on her way home from an evening church service.
Then Anne has the chance to meet up with an old flame, Tom Low (Robert Rusler), who is back in town to help with the restoration of a historic gin mill.The couple rendezvous at the rundown, out-of-town, property but just as it looks like their old romance is about to be rekindled, they are attacked by supernatural forces.
Tom is killed off swiftly, but Anne returns home later... a changed woman.
|Bonnie Aarons as The Master|
Once Jakob realises what's going on in his town, he is at first naturally horrified, but then his desire to exterminate the vampire threat (which he readily accepts as real) is tempered by a determination to save his wife, somehow.
The story pivots and lurches thematically and tonally, but it is Barbara Crampton's powerful central performance around which everything revolves and that holds this strange 98-minute affair together.
I think it's supposed to be a dark comedy, but this really isn't clear from the get-go.
There's a definite Fright Night vibe - and even a touch of Buffy The Vampire Slayer - to Jakob's Wife, but it has an odd habit of allowing characters to flip from 'good guys' to 'bad guys' at a moment's notice.
Jakob, for instance, isn't a particularly likeable person to begin with, and yet there are times when he's suddenly - slightly uncomfortably - thrust into the role of 'hero'.
And I wasn't totally sold by his transition from "thoughts and prayers solve everything" to "killing in the name of love".
Conversely, Anne switches from murderous monster to "hero" and back again several times in the tale.
Director Travis Stevens was certainly very lucky to have an actor as brilliant as Barbara Crampton as the power engine behind his movie, because it could have possibly spun totally out of control without her presence.
If this morning's Superhost was fast food, then Jakob's Wife is more a buffet offering, a potential melange of different tastes that may, or may not, appeal depending on your personal preferences and tolerances.