Saturday Ritual Image

Saturday Ritual

By Jason Delgado | June 25, 2024

PALM SPRINGS SHORTFEST 2024 REVIEW! When I think of psychics, I tend to imagine older people as customers. Writer/director Sydne Horton’s short film Saturday Ritual flips the script on that perception by following three female high school soccer players who visit a new psychic every Saturday for kicks.

The film starts out with some thrilling soccer action by showing a goalie making a save to end the game, leading our three young protagonists: Cammie (Haley Baird Riemer), Kara (Kiara T. Romero), and Em (Ryan D. Madison) to embrace each other in celebration. In the next scene, we see them joking around with each other during a car ride, teasing Em about a crush on a boy. Kara and Cammie get out of the car to try to guide Em into a parking spot but to no avail. They cheer her on, offering high fives despite the crooked parking job, which gives a glimpse into their level of support for one another.

Next, we follow the girls into a psychic palm reader’s place of business, denoted by a neon sign. They wander lost around the home until they stumble upon a crystal ball and taxidermy while laughing at the absurdity. They are greeted by a middle-aged, cigarette-smoking, straight-to-the-point psychic named Maureen (Susan Louise O’Connor).

“…who visit a new psychic…”

After some nervousness from the soccer girls, we learn from Maureen that Em will meet a man after many heartbreaks and will have twins in her future. Em replies, “Cute, I can definitely pull that off in ten years.” Next up to the hot seat is Kara, who is told that she will not be a D1 soccer star, but she will have a gift that leads to abundance. Kara says, “I’ll take it!”

The most explosive reading is saved for last, where Maureen tells Cammie that she will have a very special woman in her life. Cammie cheerfully replies that it’s probably her adoptive mom while the other girls chime in about how great she is. The psychic then humorously replies, “This woman will be influential in other ways,” while giving a wink. Cammie keeps asking questions while the awkwardness intensifies until the point where Cammie explodes and proclaims that she can’t be gay because she let a boy who she likes cheat on her test, has multiple posters of the Jonas brothers in her room, and has seen Magic Mike twice in theaters. Maureen retorts, “Sweetie, we’ve all seen Magic Mike twice.” It’s a pretty funny scene due to coming out of left field, while all actresses involved play the comedy to perfection.

Cammie is visibly dejected after this in the parking lot, but her friends try to cheer her up by making jokes about the psychic’s predictions, especially being called out as lesbian. All three actresses have great chemistry with one another, coming off naturally as friends who laugh together through the good and bad times.

The final scene is set six years later, showing Cammie living in an airstream with a recent picture of the three amigas still together—a woman talks in, giving Cammie a big kiss, thus fulfilling the prediction.

To me, Sydne Horton’s film is about acceptance for the LBGTQ+ community. Saturday Ritual shows the natural reactions to being called out as different, but those true friends will stick by your side no matter who you love.

Saturday Ritual screened at the 2024 Palm Springs Shortfest.

Saturday Ritual (2024)

Directed and Written: Sydne Horton

Starring: Haley Baird Riemer, Ryan D. Madison, Kiara Romero, Susan Louise O'Connor, Cora Lu Tran, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Saturday Ritual Image

"…the natural reactions to being called out as different, but that true friends will stick by your side no matter who you love."

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