Friday Film Roundup: ‘A Haunting in Venice,’ ‘A Million Miles Away,’ ‘Satanic Hispanics,’ and More

ENTERTAINMENTBy 2023-10-24T01:25:21-04:00September 15th, 2023|
  • A Million Miles Away (2023). Courtesy of Amazon Studios.

It’s another big week for horror and Latinos! Everywhere you look it’s jump scares and English subtitles. Thankfully, if you’re already feeling burnt out by the end of summer, you won’t have to leave your house to watch most of these movies. Between Netflix and Amazon Prime alone there’s a weekend full of movies to watch. So, in the interest of a relaxing weekend, we’ll keep it short and sweet. Go watch some movies!

“A Haunting in Venice” (In Theaters)

The third film in Kenneth Branagh’s “Murder on the Orient Express” franchise adopts a more horror-centric premise, relocating Branagh’s Hercule Poirot to the titular Italian city, where he’ll have to solve a murder that takes place during a Halloween-themed seance. Some are convinced it was a human, others swear it was a spirit. Regardless, another death means Poirot is back to work. Based on Agatha Christie’s “Hallowe’en Party,” the new film sports yet another impressive, ensemble cast of performers, including Michelle Yeoh, Tina Fey, and Jamie Dornan. It’s also the first time Branagh’s directed a horror movie and, judging by the trailer, he seems to actually have a knack for it.

“A Million Miles Away” (Amazon Prime)

It’s high-time we introduce the era of Latino excellence at the movies, and it’s hard to get more excellent than José Hernández, the migrant farmworker who couldn’t keep his eyes off the stars. He worked his way up the aeroengineering ladder all the way to NASA’s space program, where he became the first person from his background to make it to outer space. Stylishly and empathetically directed by Alejandra Márquez Abella, who recently won the Ariel award for Best Picture, “A Million Miles Away” is exactly the kind of Latino representation we need right now. It’s also a beautiful film with a pitch-perfect performance from Michael Peña in the leading role.

“Satanic Hispanics” (Netflix)

Every Halloween season needs a good anthology movie. Much like comedy, a lot of horror films work better in small doses, and a great anthology film can bring a group of talented directors together to make something completely fresh and unexpected. Movies like “Tales From the Crypt” and the “V/H/S” franchise are living proof that the formula has always and will always work. This year, however, the Latinos are taking the reins with a Netflix original anthology film from a group of very talented Latin American directors.

Through five short films and a wraparound narrative to tie them all together, “Satanic Hispanics” has something for everybody. There’s an unexpected haunted house tale, a comedic retelling of the quest for a coveted demon “member,” a centuries-long vampire love story, and much more for Latino horror fans to enjoy. Seriously, “Satanic Hispanics” is a ton of fun and should be considered mandatory Halloween viewing from this point forward.

“El Conde” (Netflix)

Speaking of vampires, “Satanic Hispanics” isn’t the only movie this week to feature a Spanish-speaking bloodsucker. It’s not even the only one on Netflix. When you’re done watching the aforementioned anthology film, you should take a look at Chilean director Pablo Larrain’s latest piece, a black-and-white horror-comedy that reimagines Augusto Pinochet as a 250-year-old vampire who decides it’s time for his life to end. Fraught by his own legacy, Pinochet decides he wants to die with dignity, although the terms of his vampirism make that close to impossible.

“Outlaw Johnny Black” (In Theaters)

Last but not least we have actor and stuntman Michael Jai White’s new film, which is something of a spiritual successor to 2009’s “Black Dynamite,” where he played the star of an especially terrible, fictionalized blaxploitation movie from the 1970s. This time, White is taking on the era’s western films, some of the same ones that inspired Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.” White wrote, directed, and stars in the film, playing the titular outlaw who travels to a small Western town to stop a band of real outlaws from robbing a local bank.

Josef Rodriguez is a writer, filmmaker, and film critic living in New York City.