Spooky And Thrilling! Review Of A Haunting In Venice (2023)
Ever since I read the review of this horror/mystery by a film enthusiast on Hive about a month ago, I've been waiting anxiously for the streaming site I use to upload it. I checked yesterday and there it was! I never thought I'd see the day when a Hercule Poirot series would feature a paranormal dimension because the brilliant detective is all about rationality and evidence.
This recent release is about ghosts, séances, and of course, murders. It's the perfect watch for the Halloween season as it's loosely based on Agatha Christie's novel titled Hallowe'en Party. Come along with me and let's find out whodunnit!
A Haunting In Venice (2023) is an American horror/mystery set in 1947, post World War II, where Hercule Poirot is shown to be in retirement and living in Venice. The opening scene reveals he's highly sought after by many people to help them with their cases. So he employs an ex-police officer as his bodyguard.
This bodyguard who won't allow anyone to touch the detective allows the popular mystery writer, Ariadne Oliver (played by Tina Fey), to meet with Poirot. She invites him to attend a Halloween party and séance organized by opera singer, Rowena Drake (played by Kelly Reilly) to expose the medium, Joyce Reynolds (played by Michelle Yeoh), as a fraud.
The invitation is too good to resist as Hercule Poirot attends the party. While the séance is going on, he stops the dramatic show and exposes Joyce's fraudulent activities staged to convince the attendees that she's in communication with the dead daughter of Rowena Drake.
Shortly after, a figure in a black cloak and hoodie tries to drown the detective in a bowl of water and apples. Simultaneously, a piercing scream is heard outside. All attendees rush to the balcony to see the medium impaled on a sharp object and dead. Who killed Joyce and why? Can it be an act of ghosts haunting the palazzo? Will the retired sleuth be able to stop the murders and uncover the truth?
This film is simply fantastic. The plot is brilliant, elevating the typical murder mystery associated with Hercule Poirot to a spooky, gothic horror. Perhaps the title could have given the plot away but the storytelling is so impressive that you won't see it coming. This adaptation seeks to make the stoic, unbelieving detective who deals with facts and evidence believe in the supernatural. It's a daunting task but I think Ariadne Oliver, aka Tina Fey, may have succeeded.
The two things that make this film the best of Kenneth Branagh's works (in my opinion) are the acting and cinematography. I commend him for playing the double role of both director and main character. His accent is in place and his moustache is ever convincing, enhancing the image of a skilled sleuth on top of the case. Also, the sight of Tina Fey and Michelle Yeoh on the film poster adds to the excitement of seeing this mystery flick. I associate Tina Fey with comedies so it's a bit surprising to see her take on a different role and she nailed it. So did Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Dornan.
I loved the settings of the film. Every room in the palazzo is spooky with candlelights or lanterns in corners yet the darkness is almost overwhelming. A séance gone wrong followed by murders and sightings of ghosts sets the mood of horror. One aspect that is left unresolved is a young girl with blonde hair that Poirot sees in the basement. Is she real, a ghost or part of the detective's hallucinations?
As I said, the cinematography is awesome. The blend of fine picturesque locations in Venice, the sound stages, low lights and visual effects of paranormal activities culminate to give this film a mesmerising touch. It's noteworthy that this film explores the mental and emotional wounds of people who experience war, in this case, World War II.
Overall, A Haunting In Venice is a thrilling whodunnit gothic horror with amazing writing and impressive cinematography. Horror fans will love it. I'll give it 4 stars out of 5.
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Other images are screenshots from the movie
Posted using CineTV