A Haunting in Venice has been one of my most anticipated films in the early fall lineup. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of director Kenneth Branagh’s previous film, Death on the Nile, the trailer for this movie felt promising. How was Branagh going to interweave the tangible world with that of the supernatural? By all appearances, it felt like the perfect film to kick off the Halloween season with. So, did it deliver? Absolutely.
Taking place in Venice after World War II on Halloween night, A Haunting in Venice is a chilling tale that brings back the renowned detective, Hercule Poirot. After retiring and residing in self-imposed seclusion in the city known for its elegance, Poirot finds himself reluctantly participating in a séance at a decaying and haunted palazzo. However, when one of the attendees is tragically killed, the detective is suddenly thrown back into action to uncover the truth.
A Haunting in Venice Movie Trailer
A Haunting in Venice Movie Review: What I Did and Didn’t Like
Inspired by Agatha Christie’s novel Hallowe’en Party, A Haunting in Venice feels far less predictable than Branagh’s previous films. And with a one-hour and 40-minute run time, the movie also keeps up a fast pace, never leaving the audience bored or checking their watches.
What I appreciated the most about this film is how it takes Poirot out of his usual environment. Typically composed and unruffled when solving mysteries, he is now faced with something that challenges his fundamental beliefs. Despite his reluctance to admit it, it becomes clear that he is grappling with the inconsistencies, which exposes a more vulnerable side to his character.
While the story is still predictable to some degree, the ending wasn’t something I saw coming as I did from nearly the first five minutes of Death on the Nile. The narrative keeps the audience guessing, mirroring Poirot’s own uncertainties throughout the tale.
It’s clear that things aren’t as they seem. But they can’t be supernatural, right? A Haunting in Venice, between the script and the performances, skillfully treads the line between satisfying the skeptics while also providing just enough to excite the believers.
I always enjoy Branagh’s portrayal of Poirot. He masterfully captures the character’s charm, wit, and essence, to an extent where it becomes easy for the audience to lose themselves in the story and forget they are watching a movie.
On the other hand, seeing Tina Fey in a non-comedic role like this is somewhat jarring for me. However, her character here did have some great moments of subtle humor, and she delivered a strong performance overall.
The supporting cast also does a wonderful job with their characters, each adding their own layer of complexity to the story.
While the film’s climax did fall short of the satisfying “aha!” moment that I was hoping for, I was still entertained and engaged throughout. And I didn’t see the ending coming from a mile away, which was a refreshing shift from Death on the Nile.
Overall, A Haunting in Venice leaves me with hope for future Poirot adventures. It delivers a solid murder mystery with a chilling touch of horror, making it the perfect movie to kick off the Halloween season.
A Haunting in Venice Movie Review:
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