Jakob’s Wife (2021)

The irrepressible Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden star in this story of a woman’s mid-life crisis being super-charged by an encounter with a vampire. Anne lives a quiet life as the wife of minister Jakob, who is a pillar of their local community. When she invites old flame Tom to submit a tender for a local project, he tempts her into a kiss, but a vampire called The Master intervenes, leaving Anne bitten and with a new appetite for human blood. Her burgeoning confidence challenges Jakob, who just wants her to keep playing the role of dutiful minister’s wife.

Stories of women’s mid-life crises are hard to come by. I love the sly humour of Jakob’s Wife, and Anne’s glee as she loosens her marriage shackles is infectious. Her vampire appetites brings chaos into Jakob’s life, upending all of his rules and expectations, and anyone feeling the constrictions of mid-life and marriage, its duties, and having to come to terms with death being closer than youth, can empathise with both of them. The social contracts we abide by can choke us if we don’t pay attention.

When Anne tells Jakob what she really wants, his initial responses are limited to wanting the whole thing to go away, and he resorts to sullenly clearing up the bloody mess Anne makes with her victims. They love each other, but Anne eventually has to answer the question: does she always just want to be known as Jakob’s wife?