The world-renowned detective Hercule Poirot is back in A Haunting in Venice. Directed by and starring in the lead role as the detective is Kenneth Branagh. This is the third installment of the series based on the Agatha Christie novels.
In this new installment, Detective Poirot is living quietly in Venice while enjoying retirement from detective work. That’s until an old friend, Ariadne Oliver (Tina Fey), who is a mystery novel writer finds Poirot and asks him to join her in a seance. The séance takes place on Halloween at an orphanage turned into a home where a grieving mother, Rowena Drake (Kelly Reilly), wants to reconnect with her deceased daughter who jumped out of a window due to being haunted by the spirits of orphans that once lived in that house. Running the séance is Mrs. Reynolds (Michelle Yeoh) who is attempting to connect with Rowena’s daughter. Joining the late-night event is Rowena’s daughter’s doctor Leslie Ferrier (Jamie Dorna), the maid Olga Seminoff (Camille Cottin), the doctor’s son Leopold Ferrier (Jude Hill), and Poirot’s security guard Vitale Portfoglio (Riccardo Samarcio). As the séance is happening Poirot can piece together the fake spiritual occurrences until something unexplained happens. This then makes Poirot question if the afterlife exists. While reflecting on this, a murder is committed. Poirot must now shut down the house to figure out who the murderer is, but was the murder committed by someone at the séance or was it one of the deceased orphans?
Right off the bat this film is a lot better than the past two films. The other films felt very flat and predictable. In this film the first murder happens, and you really have no idea who did it. The whole reason why you just don’t know is because of the spiritual aspect to the story. The film makes you believe that maybe one of the spirits did commit the murder because of what happens during the séance. I think that was done very well. I did like the environment they were in with all the darkened hallways, and everything was lit by candlelight. It makes the home feel like a haunted house and the architecture of the home adds more creepiness to the story. Now, is this a horror film? No, this is not a horror film but there are jump scares throughout. So, if you did bring someone that’s 13 years old you don’t need to worry about possibly traumatizing them at the theater. I think the acting in this was well done by everyone, but I wasn’t a big fan with how fast the movie went by. I felt like the movie needed thirty more minutes to really expand on the mystery of the murder, but the reveal at the end was shocking.
I did find myself having a good time watching this film, especially at the theater. I think you should see this at least once in theaters to really get the full experience of what the film offers. Especially with Halloween right around the corner, this would be a good movie to start the spooky season off with.
Rating: 3.5 out 5