A Haunting in Venice

A Haunting in Venice October 1, 2023

Agatha Christie novels are a particular kind of murder mystery, and thanks to Kenneth Branagh several of the most famous ones (E.G. MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, OR DEATH ON THE NILE) have been made into lavish Hollywood spectacles.    A Haunting in Venice is no different, except the original novel was called a Halloween Party, and the story line varies some from the novel itself.  Christie’s novels are overwhelmingly ‘who dunnits’, not how was it done etc.  And Poirot the detective must piece things together  a bit at a time, always believing that murder most foul, no matter how apparently mysterious, is nonetheless a knot that can be untangled.  Branagh is a good Poirot, and this particular novel number 36 in the series if I’m counting right, has Poirot in retirement and coming back to solve some grisly activities in Venice, apparently involving the dead getting some revenge.  There is something of an all star cast this, with Tina Fey playing, basically Agatha Christie, as the novel writer who made Poirot famous, with Michelle Yeoh as the medium who contacts the dead for the grieving mother played by Kelly Reilly.  The scene stealer in the film is Jude Hill who plays the precious and brilliant son of a doctor.   For my money, as far as the mystery telling itself goes, this was the best of this series of films about Poirot, and also the spookiest– very appropriate for the coming of the Halloween season, and at 1 hour 43 minutes just the right length to allow the mystery to become complex, and at the same time, have enough time to do the great reveal at a leisurely pace.    I would indeed recommend this movie as a good night out for older children, parents, or teens dating.   It has been said that Horror movies help one cope with the real fears in life, by conjuring up solutions to the sort that are usually more horrific and showing that our own real fears are actually dealing with less daunting situations.  In a season when there are not many good movies in the theaters, this one is the exception to the rule.


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