Thursday, May 23

A Haunting in Venice

A Haunting in Venice

A Haunting in Venice

Release Date: September 15, 2023
Runtime: 01:43
In post-World War II Venice, Poirot, now retired and living in his own exile, reluctantly attends a seance. But when one of the guests is murdered, it is up to the former detective to once again uncover the killer.

A Halloween séance ends in murder in A Haunting in Venice. Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) has retired from murder investigations and is now living in solitude in Venice. However, Poirot is visited by his old friend, mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver (Tina Fey), who invites Poirot to join her at a Halloween party hosted by palazzo of opera singer Rowena Drake (Kelly Reilly), which will be followed by a séance conducted by Joyce Reynolds (Michelle Yeoh).

The séance intends to contact Rowena’s deceased daughter Alicia (Rowan Robinson), who died a year earlier of an apparent suicide. Other attendees at the séance include Dr. Leslie Ferrier (Jamie Dornan) and his son Leopold (Jude Hill), housekeeper Olga Seminoff (Camille Cottin), and Alicia’s ex-fiance Maxime Gerard (Kyle Allen). Soon after the conclusion of the séance, there is a murder in the palazzo and with the exit blocked off due to a storm, Poirot goes on the case to find the killer.

A Haunting in Venice Synopsis

A Haunting in Venice is the third Hercule Poirot mystery directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh, following 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express and 2022’s Death on the Nile. The film is based on the lesser-known Agatha Christie novel Hallowe’en Party, the location of which is changed to Venice for this film adaptation. As is the case with most murder mysteries, A Haunting in Venice features an ensemble cast that includes Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Tina Fey (Who Killed Maggie Moore(s)), Jamie Dornan (Belfast), Camille Cottin (Stillwater, House of Gucci), Kyle Allen (West Side Story), and Kelly Reiley (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows).

My Thoughts on A Haunting in Venice

Probably the biggest selling point of A Haunting in Venice, which makes the film stand apart from Kenneth Branagh’s two other Hercule Poirot films, is that the film is just as much a supernatural horror film as it is a murder mystery. The séance that sets the plot into motion is effectively creepy and during his investigation, Poirot finds himself plagued with sounds of children singing and visions of apparitions.

A Haunting in Venice does a solid job at balancing the ghost story horror with the murder mystery, with the film simultaneously offering a rational explanation, while also leaving it open-ended that this Venetian palazzo is truly haunted. The film also benefits from being based on a lesser-known Agatha Christie novel, meaning that the film wasn’t bogged down with comparisons of earlier adaptations, as was the case with both Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile.

At this point, Kenneth Branagh has settled well into his interpretation of Hercule Poirot and with there being a large collection of adventures to choose from, I wouldn’t mind if he continues to release these films every few years.

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Trailer for A Haunting in Venice

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How to Watch A Haunting in Venice

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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