“Does your modern indie horror movie really exist if it doesn’t feature Barbara Crampton or Larry Fessenden? The two horror icons, who have been so good in so many genre movies for so long, are busier than ever, popping up in (and often propping up) countless films made by filmmakers who clearly grew up watching them on well-worn VHS tapes.

“But Jakob’s Wife, a gory new horror comedy about a marriage on the rocks before vampirism rears its ugly fangs, understands their appeal more than most. In fact, it knows what horror fans really want: to see them placed front-and-center as leading man and leading lady rather than relegated to supporting role or amusing cameo. And while there are other pleasures to be found in Jakob’s Wife (especially the geysers of blood that erupt with some regularity), these two, together in the spotlight, are the main draw.

“While this is not the first time Crampton and Fessenden have been in the same movie together (gems like You’re Next and We Are Still Here are among their shared credits), co-writer and director Travis Stevens gives them characters worthy of their talent. Too often, casting these two feels like a wink, a filmmaker nudging the audience to say “Yes, I too enjoy Re-Animator and/or Wendigo!” Stevens understands that these two aren’t just well-liked names – they’re terrific actors, more-than-capable of carrying an entire movie. And he obliges them.

“Cast against type as a buttoned-down, conservative preacher, Fessenden digs into the “straight man” dynamic of the film’s duo, finding low-key humor in his exasperation. His eventual turn to vampire hunter is less of a heroic move and more of a reflection of an impatient man desperate to get shit done. It’s fun stuff.”

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