Travis Stevens, who I’ve never heard of, is back with “Jakob’s Wife”, which I’ve also never heard of after Girl On The Third Floor which....yeah, you get the idea. Not exactly keen on watching his previous work to find out what I was getting into here, I jumped headfirst into the water only to discover this film.....was not easy sailing. But hot damn, did it make that much more enjoyable.
What’s presented on the surface as an interesting twist on the vampire tale is actually a pretty hilarious and insightful commentary surrounding long-term marriage and the limitations set on women regarding where they want to go and what they want to do with themselves, even though it ruffles up a few bones of contention regarding how it gets there. And I’m sorry but let me just praise Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden straight out of the gate, ok? Both of the main leads create some well-needed three-dimensional characters with dramatically intense performances that are both poignant and hilarious simultaneously; that’s two more added onto the best Actors list for this year. It’s also nice to see the latter making a comeback after so long. Not wanting to be outdone, composer Tara Busch compacts this tantalizing, emboldening score that sent very inhuman chills shivering around my body alongside production design with a very sturdy hand on the camera and use of maneuverability, brisk pacing, an incredibly ridiculous use of blood and gore fitting for its R rating and the manner in which it utilizes its hefty themes for exploration into feminist liberation and how it further carries the relationship drama....it does make you look back and think on it, doesn’t it?
Off the top of my head, the tone of this movie made me feel jolly inside; easily the best part for me. Because if you really think about it, most horror comedies struggle ineptly to find a silver-lining to balance one genre outing out from the other. Here, both the direction and screenplay help supply the B-movie aesthetic and atmosphere by teetering somewhere right along the middle between the two genre conventions. Yes, the film doesn’t outright play for laughs but this isn’t a serious horror film so whenever it goes for something campy or over-the-top, the lack of realism implied seems to fit well enough.
As for those few bones of contention, I wasn’t expecting the plot to be as straightforward as it was, which in turn took me out of the impending mystery eventually. Not to mention not every special effect came off as convincing, the anticlimactic showdown within itself shouldn’t need to be elaborated any further and would it kill you to not be too on the nose about your themes with the dialogue? They don’t bludgeon you over the head with the message so it doesn’t lose much of its meaning but dude....c’mon.
The hell I am kidding, I still like this for what it tries to be and sticks with it.