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The festival may be virtual once again this year, but SXSW is still rolling out great new genre fare in 2021, and one of the buzziest this time around is Jakob's Wife, a horror film with a darkly comic bite starring the legendary Barbara Crampton in the title role.
Crampton, who told SYFY WIRE ahead of the film's premiere about the deep connection she felt with her character, stars as Anne, the wife of a small-town minister who's dutifully supported her husband (fellow genre great Larry Fessenden) for years, but still feels that she's lost something of herself. Then, while in pursuit of a personal passion project, a brutal tragedy brings Anne into contact with "The Master," a being who grants her a new sense of life and energy.
Suddenly, Anne feels more vibrant than she's felt in years, but this new vitality comes at a terrible price. Check out the just-released trailer below:
As the trailer reveals, Jakob's Wife begins as a domestic drama that descends into horror and then explodes into vampiric, often darkly comic madness as Anne and Jakob must learn to navigate their new lives in the wake of Anne's encounter. In the exclusive photos below, you can see a little more of that madness, as the bloody mayhem of the film takes hold of its characters.
As Crampton told SYFY WIRE, it was Anne's encounter, and the awakening that followed it, which immediately drew her to the material several years ago and ultimately led her to shepherd the project into its final form as both star and producer.
"We wanted to highlight a woman’s awakening to herself, to recapturing her youth and gaining a zest for life and having feelings like she never had before in her life. We wanted it to be a film about hope and renewal," Crampton said. "All those things were in [the early drafts], but we wanted to highlight different aspects that maybe weren’t as fully fleshed out as originally in the original draft. So, it just took us a while to capture that and to make it into what it is right now."
The result is a labor of love, equal parts funny and scary and emotional, that arrived at SXSW Wednesday night to critical acclaim and social media buzz. If you weren't able to catch the film during the festival, though, you don't have to wait long to see more for yourself. Jakob's Wife arrives in theaters and on VOD platforms April 16, followed by a streaming release on Shudder later this year.