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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

‘A Haunting in Venice’ leaves audiences with chills

Keely Menyhart

Kenneth Branagh twirls the mustache and reprises his role as the charming Inspector Hercules Poirot in “A Haunting in Venice.” The movie, also directed by Branagh, is the third adaptation of the case of Agatha Christie’s famous character. But unlike his earlier adaptations of “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Death on the Nile,” the latest movie gives the horror genre a makeover. 

Branagh’s junior work is based on Christie’s book “Halloween Party” published in 1969, but originally Christie didn’t add any gothic or supernatural phenomena. In the movie, the story revolves around a retired Poirot who goes to a séance at a party in a rumored-to-be-haunted Venetian Palazzo. Yet, things become tense when the medium performing the séance, played by 2023 Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh, gets murdered.  

Poirot is forced to step on his detective shoes once again with a push from his American friend and famous novelist Ariadne Oliver, played by the marvelous comedian Tina Fey. Fey’s character becomes Poirot’s sidekick and they investigate a case that would unravel many more ghostly secrets throughout the night. 

The story follows the detective trying to put the case pieces together rationally, even though almost everything in that house seems out of this world. There are some jumpscares but also comic scenes in which Fey and Branagh seem to be in complete synchrony. 

Kelly Reily is impeccable as renewed opera singer Rowena Drake, the hostess of the Halloween party and the one in an attempt to contact her deceased daughter through the séance. “Belfast” stars Jamie Dornan and Jude Hill are reunited and flawlessly play a troubled sick father and a vigilant and clever son. 

But who really stole the spotlight was the French actress Camille Cottin, best known for Netflix’s “Call My Agent.” Cottin, who plays Drake’s housekeeper Olga Seminoff, challenged herself in a part that wouldn’t be so great if she didn’t play it. Cottin portrays Seminoff delicately and precisely, making her one of the biggest highlights of the movie. 

In addition to the puzzling story and amazing cast, the cinematography is jaw-dropping. “A Haunting in Venice” might be one of the best works of Haris Zambarloukos, who is known for his works in “Belfast,” “Mamma Mia!” and the Poirot franchise. The movie is set in Venice in the late ’40s and Zambarloukos captured the essence of the city and story while embracing the Halloween and gothic scenario.

Branagh has been playing and directing Poirot’s franchise for six years. While some might say sequels lack originality, Branagh proved them wrong by reinventing and flawlessly navigating through the cozy mystery and thriller genres. 

This shift and mixture of genres makes “A Haunting in Venice” the best movie of the franchise, catching the viewer’s attention throughout 103 minutes which seems to pass in a blink of an eye. 

“A Haunting in Venice” is definitely worth a watch, especially in this spooky time of the year. Branagh’s Poirot will put the audience on the case with him and lead them to a scary world of uncertainties where the dead supposedly kill the living. 

“A Haunting in Venice” is now in theaters. 

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About the Contributors
Elise Coelho, Staff Writer | she/her
Elise is a sophomore from São Paulo, Brazil. She is majoring in philosophy with a minor in journalism. She loves to read, write, listen to music and take pictures. Her favorite band is Maneskin, and most of the time you can find her at a theater watching a musical. After graduation she plans to become an author and share her stories with the world.
Keely Menyhart, Arts & Entertainment Editor | she/her

Keely is a junior from Merritt Island, Florida. She is majoring in journalism with a print/web concentration and a minor in advertising. When she is not writing for the Journal, you can find her walking through museums, listening to music or rewatching her favorite shows. You can also find her exploring record stores and obsessing over new music. Keely plans on continuing her work from the Journal after graduating by covering music and entertainment for news publications.

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