Format: Streaming video from Tubi TV on Fire!
“Fish out of water” films are a real thing, and they are an odd little sub-category of horror and horror-tangential films. Probably the most famous of them is Deliverance, but it would be a mistake to think that Deliverance clones like Southern Comfort aren’t in some way a response to that film. Even The Descent has some connection—put city folk in the wilderness and, essentially, see what happens. The Hills Have Eyes, Cabin Fever, and even movies like The Naked Prey, Straw Dogs, and Wake in Fright have some connection to the subgenre. Stuck right in the middle of these, almost exactly between Deliverance and Southern Comfort is Rituals, which was also released under the much more B-movie title The Creeper.
Rituals is very clearly a film that wants to be Deliverance. In fact, it is essentially a Canadian version of that film with a lot less star power, since our main star is Hal Holbrook, and that’s about all we’ll get for major players of the time. We have a group of doctors who knew each other in med school who get together for a yearly trip, the planning of which rotates between the people in the group. This time, the planning was done by D.J. (Gary Reineke), and the trip is a fishing/camping/hiking vacation in northern Ontario. Along for the trip are Harry (Hal Holbrook), Mitzi (Lawrence Dane), D.J.’s brother Martin (Robin Gammell) and Abel (Ken James).