A Haunting in Venice review: A mystery that does its job

Lucy-Jo Finnighan
A Haunting in Venice Supernatural

A Haunting in Venice may leave some unsatisfying loose threads, but its haunting atmosphere makes for a perfect Halloween watch.

A Haunting in Venice is about to become the newest Agatha Christie-based mystery film, directed by Kenneth Branagh, who will once again be starring as the world-famous detective Hercules Poirot.

This new movie follows a now retired Poirot as he is asked to attend a Séance at a Halloween party in Venice, leading to a murder, and a good old-fashioned ghostly mystery.

While Branagh’s previous film Death on the Nile wasn’t massively loved, fans still generally appreciate Murder on the Orient Express, so this film was set to be the deciding factor. Thankfully, A Haunting in Venice holds up as a decent horror mystery movie, though some factors stand out more than others. Let’s get into it, but first, slight spoiler warning for A Haunting in Venice!

Kenneth Branagh knows how to not murder a vibe

If there’s one thing that A Haunting in Venice does right, it’s create the perfect Halloween murder mystery vibe. While Kenneth Branagh’s movies may be considered hit or miss, it’s arguable that he is underrated for his lack of fear in creative directing. Dutch angles and black-and-white visuals are aplenty in this movie, and thankfully this stylism doesn’t feel forced for the most part.

This movie isn’t really scary, but it certainly has its ghostly moments, and the overall atmosphere is perfect for a spooky night flick. Stormy visuals, haunting architecture, and a score that doesn’t force jumpscares, but rather builds on the naturally created tension. There are also some funny moments, but thankfully Branagh shows restraint in his jokes, preventing the movie from feeling silly rather than suspenseful.

A Haunting in Venice Suspects

The acting, while sometimes a little stiff and repetitive, does have some standouts, with Jamie Dornan, Michelle Yeoh, and Hercule Poirot himself coming to mind. Not all of the characters are memorable like they were in Murder on the Orient Express, but the way in which said characters have been adapted from the source material is clever.

A mystery that isn’t fully solved

The movie has plenty of deviations from the original Agatha Christie novel, to the point where book fans may get mad, but the mystery thankfully still holds up. The killer – which don’t worry, we won’t spoil here, click here instead to find out – is never fully obvious right until the end, are there are still plenty of other twists within the film to keep you guessing.

Granted, the way a major thematic discussion of the movie – that being whether or not ghosts exist – is resolved is an unsatisfying way, with a mystery surprisingly being left unsolved. The way A Haunting in Venice concludes its murder plot also feels like a copout, with its final climax with the killer needing little action from our main hero.

A Haunting in Venice review score: 3/5

A Haunting in Venice may have a number of moments where it feels underwhelming or basic, but there are thankfully never any flat-out terrible moments like in Death on the Nile. The good points are memorable, and the atmosphere built by Kenneth Branagh is well worth the price of a cinema ticket.

This Agatha Christie franchise is likely to keep going strong, and we’re glad for that. While far from the movie of the year, A Haunting in Venice is looking to be the movie of this year’s Halloween, which certainly isn’t a bad feat.  

A Haunting in Venice will haunt cinemas on September 15. For more horror content, click here.

You can check out our other coverage of the movie below:

About The Author

Lucy-Jo is a Movies and TV Writer at Dexerto, and has previously written for Screen Rant and Girls on Tops. After earning a Master's Degree in Film and Literature, Lucy-Jo now loves covering films, TV shows, and anime, especially if it's something by Mike Flanagan, or anything drenched in camp. You can contact her at lucyjo.finnighan@dexerto.com