A Haunting in Venice movie review: A lack of scares doesn’t make you care

Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot story continues with his third film with the character in A Haunting In Venice. After an underwhelming turn in Death in the Nile, can Branagh and company reignite the franchise? We share our thoughts on the film below.

A Haunting In Venice follows retired detective Hercule Poirot being reeled out of retirement to attend a Halloween seance at a haunted palazzo in Italy. The film stars Branagh, Tina Fey, Kelly Reilly, Jamie Dornan, and Michelle Yeoh.

Hercule Poirot’s mysteries kicked off in 2017 with Murder on the Orient Express and moved to Death on the Nile in 2022, and with both films being slightly underwhelming I had little to no expectations heading into A Haunting in Venice. The film begins with Ariadne Oliver, a writer on a cold streak with three straight books being reviewed poorly. She hunts down Hercule Poirot to try and reel him out of retirement to come to a seance in Venice where there are possibly haunted spirits.

There’s nothing horrifying or scary about A Haunting in Venice

When you look up this film on Google, IMDB, or any other online website, you see it is listed as a “HORROR” movie. For a film that has “haunting” in the title and is listed as a “HORROR” movie, there was absolutely nothing scary about this movie. I am tired of movies being promoted as horror movies and not being scary. If you want to watch a movie in this from this year, watch Talk to Me.

Another issue with the film is how you have a star-studded cast, and you give them a script that doesn’t allow them to shine. Academy Award-winning actress Michelle Yeoh was completely underutilized along with Jamie Dornan. These types of movies are known for their ensemble cast, so let them step up and elevate the film, not restrict them. Two performances I will shout out are Jude Hill and Tina Fey. The latter brought some fun comedic elements while Hill had some strong emotional moments.

I will also point out the work of Haris Zambarloukos whose stunning cinematography was a true standout in the film. You have a beautiful set location in Venice, but the work inside the house stood out, bringing this dark and mysterious vibe to the film.

Overall, A Haunting in Venice is a lackluster and dull film that is an easy skip in theaters. Even with a strong performance from Tina Fey, and cinematography that was great, the film lacks the true “mystery” that you would expect from a film of this nature.

A Haunting in Venice hits theaters on Sept. 15, 2023.