“The Fisherman’s Wife” (2016): Creepy Fun Makes This Seaside Shocker a Delight


All Becky (Cynthia Granville) wants to do is finalize divorce papers with her husband Frank (Stuart Rudin) in director Ben Leonberg’s short film The Fisherman’s Wife (2016), but things definitely won’t go as easily as she had hoped. As a matter of fact, she’ll be fighting for her life rather than alimony by the end of the evening.

Ben Leonberg directs with confidence and skill with different tones as The Fisherman’s Wife goes from its eerie, misty opening sequence to tense mystery within the house, and then a sudden turn into action, with a bit of humor mixed in for good measure. The pacing feels fluid as the film takes these turns, as Leonberg works from a sharp script that he cowrote with producer Dan Boddicker. The cinematography by BJ Downs is crisp and impressive.

Cynthia Granville stars as the title character in the humorous horror short The Fisherman’s Wife.

Cynthia Granville is wonderful in the titular role. She invests her character Becky with take-no-guff strength from the outset, and the actress was obviously game to have fun in this part. She is on screen for most of the running time and is a lot of fun to watch.

Some viewers may find some practical effects (I don’t want to give away too much of The Fisherman’s Wife’s secrets here) to be on the low-budget side, but it should be noted that the short is a Columbia University MFA thesis project. I found what the effects and fabrication crew came up with to be a fun approach that harkens back to some classic approaches from the 1950s through 1980s.

Genre film veteran Stuart Rudin co-stars as a fisherman who comes face to face with a terrifying entity.

Currently on its film festival run, The Fisherman’s Wife is a terrific short film that serves as a strong calling card for Ben Leonberg. For more information, visit the short’s official website at www.fishwifefilm.com.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.