A Haunting in Venice marks a mild departure from the traditional murder mystery format that the Kenneth Branagh‘s Poirot series has become known for. Drawing inspiration from Agatha Christie’s novel Hallowe’en Party, this instalment intertwines the mystery and horror genres, offering a fresh take on the classic character’s adventures. Branagh’s return to the role of Hercule Poirot, following Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, is a welcomed one, and it demonstrates his mastery of the character.
Set in post-World War II Venice, the film not only provides a stunning and atmospheric backdrop but also leverages the city’s history to amplify the sense of mystery and unease. Poirot’s return from retirement to investigate the murder of the medium, played by the talented Michelle Yeoh, adds a layer of personal stakes to the story.
The plot is a captivating blend of paranormal elements, murder mystery, and psychological thriller. The revelation that the medium uncovered her own murderer during a psychic reading adds an intriguing and eerie twist to the tale. Poirot’s challenge is to use his exceptional detective skills to identify the murderer(s) among the assembled cast of characters, played by a talented ensemble including Tina Fey, Jamie Dornan, Kelly Reilly, and Kyle Allen.
A Haunting in Venice employs very common tropes from both the mystery and horror genres to create an engaging and immersive experience. The horror genre tropes are skillfully integrated, with eerie, atmospheric settings in the post-WWII Venice, and a chilling exploration of the supernatural. Jump scares, paranormal phenomena, and moments of tension are deftly deployed to keep the audience’s heart pounding.