Home Movie Reviews ‘A Haunting In Venice’ – Review
‘A Haunting In Venice’ – Review

‘A Haunting In Venice’ – Review


The great sleuth himself, Monsieur Hercule Poirot, returns for another dapper mystery adventure in Sir Kenneth Branagh’s third instalment of his ever-growing Poirot universe with A Haunting of Venice. But a dark and disturbing shadow hangs over this narrative, and you’ll feel the fright as the worlds of the living and the dead come smashing together.

Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot (Sir Kenneth Branagh) investigates a murder while attending a Halloween seance at a haunted palazzo in Venice, Italy.

As one of cinema’s greatest ever storytellers, Sir Kenneth Branagh continues to ride high with his new take on Agatha Christie’s classic detective tales of Monsieur Hercule Poirot, the dapper gentleman detective who has enchanted the world for more than 100 years and once again Branagh brings a new edge to the grand detective in his all-new vision for the character in A Haunting in Venice. Having previously adapted Christie’s most well-known works, including 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express and 2022’s Death on the Nile, the filmmaker now switches his attention to a different style with an adaptation loosely inspired by Christie’s Hallowe’en Party, and it gets particularly spooky as this new narrative channels a dark and foul tale of murder and mystery.

Where Murder on the Orient Express was an opulent and lavish story, and Death on the Nile veered more into exoticism and eroticism, A Haunting in Venice throws audiences into an all-new different type of realm as Branagh plays with elements of the supernatural and brings a fanged horror cinema edge to the production. While these stories all find Poirot and a host of suspects bound together in a single location, A Haunting in Venice levels up the intensity, and it’s very much a ‘siege movie’. Focusing on detail and atmosphere, Branagh brings a unique gothic tone to the picture, leading to a fair few unsettling moments. Adding to the creepiness of the atmosphere is the work of the film’s cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos, who utilises a range of tight shots and fish-eyed lenses that warps the screen and the perspective of the film, adding to its unsettling ambience.

A Haunting in Venice marks a change for the dapper Hercule Poirot, and we see Branagh’s great detective stumble upon a mystery that lays bare his belief in the wisdom of logic. Branagh challenges both his character and the audience with a mystery that skirts the line between the realm of the living and the dead, and the horrors at the base of this narrative have a major effect on the character of Poirot. As the detective who sees all the workings of those around him, the events and brutal murders of A Haunting in Venice begin to make Poirot question his own deductive mind, and these feelings of doubt that he suddenly feels give the film an edge not previously seen in other Poirot pictures.

Branagh also once again assembles an incredible group of collaborators for his third Poirot film, and all of them find themselves suspect in A Haunting in Venice. Tina Fey brings a snappy and intelligent presence that rivals Branagh’s Poirot as Ariadne Oliver, a famed novelist and long-time friend to the great detective. Recent Academy Award winner Michelle Yeoh again stuns as the witchy and wicked Joyce Reynolds, a medium with her own dark secrets. Jamie Dornan is a tragic and self-destructive presence as Dr. Leslie Ferrier, and is supported by his oddball and precious son Leopold (Jude Hill). Kelly Reilly’s Rowena Drake is a glamorous yet shallow woman whose obsession with finding her daughter’s killer leads to the haunting inside her grand palazzo. Riccardo Scamarcio makes for a gruff and frightening presence as Vitale Portfoglio, a former policeman turned bodyguard for Poirot, and all of them have a part to play in the sinister events of A Haunting in Venice.

The action builds quickly in A Haunting in Venice, and this is a picture whose atmosphere gets under your skin. It is a real departure from what we’re used to seeing within a Poirot film, and Branagh’s direction adds a much-needed level of edge that it helps to keep the story moving at a kinetic pace. The film’s horror edge also makes it an interesting watch, and the unexpected is waiting in all corners of the dark shadows of A Haunting in Venice.

For audiences who are looking for a thrilling, atmospheric and intense murder mystery, A Haunting in Venice offers plenty of surprises, and audiences will be pleased with the new direction that the great detective, Monsieur Hercule Poirot, is taken this time around.

Image: 20th Century Studios