A Haunting in Venice

A Haunting in Venice
A Haunting in Venice
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The third Kenneth Branagh-directed film about Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is a thrilling murder mystery with authentic horror elements. It turns out that A Haunting in Venice, an adaptation of 1969 novel Hallowe’en Party, will give you goosebumps as the devilish plot takes a sudden turn on what appears to be supernatural grounds. Poirot personifies the ideals of rationalism and logical reasoning; however he is being put through a mesmerizing test of his investigative skills due to unexplained happenings which have induced perplexing series of killings.

Lovely Italian cinematography along with outstanding performances by world-renowned actors makes this one heck of a scary movie.

A Haunting in Venice starts off after World War II when Poirot has already settled into retirement. Of course, he doesn’t mind that the admiring crowd gathers at his luxurious mansion. His daily routine is like total chaos and no one can interrupt it. People who are eager to receive services from him or get his autograph are not even considered. Vitale Portfoglio (Riccardo Scamarcio), a former Italian poliziotto, serves as an effective bodyguard. He’s hard as nails ensuring that Poirot eats his pastry in peace.

Poirot’s leisurely afternoon is interrupted by a surprise visit from famous author Ariadne Oliver (Tina Fey). The writer of mysteries novels who made him popular has something puzzling up her sleeve for him that will definitely bring him back into action soon enough. Oliver has become enamored with a sensational psychic and spiritual medium whose talents she finds irresistible. Joyce Reynolds (Michelle Yeoh) has been invited to Venice for a séance. Opera star Rowena Drake (Kelly Reilly), inconsolable since her daughter Alicia (Rowan Robinson) drowned herself, resides in an eerie palazzo filled with ghostly sounds of dead children. Their cries still echo throughout the house at night. Drake is convinced they drove Alicia to suicide. She believes Reynolds will be able to communicate with Alicia’s tortured soul.

Poirot has no patience for this nonsense. Obviously, she’s just another fraud trying to take advantage of a grieving mother. Oliver wants him to attend the séance to witness her in action. Previous attempts to expose Reynolds as a fraud have failed; instead, it seems like she really possesses some mystical powers. Poirot’s superior intelligence is necessary either to confirm that Reynolds is a true seer or an adroit cheatster. Although doubtful he accepts out of curiosity, soon realizing one cannot resist palazzo’s treacherous charms.

Branagh surrounds himself with greatness both behind and in front of the camera with grand success. The visuals are just stunning! Production designer John Paul Kelly (The Theory of Everything, Stan & Ollie) brings you from idyllic Venetian facades into ominous interiors. Inside it is nothing but perpetual menace everywhere you go through the place – every corner and each hidden niche may conceal a murderer or lurking ghouls inside them. It strikes Poirot that the unfamiliar surroundings outweigh him considerably in his search for truth and justice Hidden corridors, trap doors, and basement-like dungeons await discovery of clues about what happened here once upon time This allows any sinister attacker(s) enough chances while concealed victim(s) remain unsuspecting all along

A Haunting in Venice makes good use of shadows, light and darkness to create a thrilling atmosphere. Haris Zambarloukos (Belfast, Murder on the Orient Express), Branagh’s long-time collaborator as his cinematographer on their ninth film together, is at the top of his game here. What begins as vibrant and idyllic becomes a murky quagmire. Multiple scenes involve candles and strobe flashes that mimic lightning strikes. Fascinating camera angles are also used throughout this movie to reveal an array of viewpoints for each character. For example, Poirot’s descent below the palazzo starts with his face then transfers to above and behind views so that danger is captured accurately. Zambarloukos suggests that someone or something might be just there behind him.

The excellent supporting cast will keep you guessing until the bombshell climax’s revelation. And Yeoh steals the show in her role as Reynolds fresh off winning an Academy Award for Best Actress. She knows he has come only to discredit her but from his disparaging remarks and intimidating way she does not exhibit any fear or concern whatsoever. You think he may have met his match here? It is truly creepy as hell when Yeoh contorts her face in a weird way and produces bizarre sounds during the séance session! Her fans are definitely going to be happy about this performance because she loves doing challenging roles where she gets an opportunity to do something different from what everyone thinks she should.

This film does not cater for those viewers who like watching casually. The story line being dense and intricate calls for undivided attention throughout its screening period . In addition, every character has been given reason by Branagh in order for it to be developed later on. This consequently ends up meaning there will be plenty of talking among them all.It doesn’t take long before pleasantries stop once bodies start appearing all over.Thus, Poirot’s sharp interview techniques digs out hidden secrets and falsehoods that were deeply buried in the minds of people. Thus, each cast member gets different interpretations for their role. It is a different story when it comes to friendliness towards Poirot.

A Haunting in Venice succeeds on all counts. I got scared several times, they were not expected. The story is not obvious to guess as you watch it. A very obscure Agatha Christie offering has been taken by Branagh, himself and his fine actors along with a competent production team to another higher level. It’s also his best turn as Poirot.

A Haunting in Venice is a Kinberg Genre presentation, produced by The Mark Gordon Company, TSG Entertainment, Scott Free Productions, and Agatha Christie Limited.” It will be released theatrically on September 15th 2021 through 20th Century Studios.

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