How scary is A Haunting in Venice?

Michelle Yeoh as Joyce Reynolds in 20th Century Studios' A HAUNTING IN VENICE. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2023 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Michelle Yeoh as Joyce Reynolds in 20th Century Studios' A HAUNTING IN VENICE. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2023 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved. /
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Kenneth Branagh has gone to the Agatha Christie well once more, this time adapting a story that’s a bit more chilling than his last ventures. I’m talking of course about the newly released A Haunting in Venice, the horror/mystery film adaptation of Chrisite’s 1969 novel, Hallowe’en Party.

The movie is the third installment in Branagh’s Poirot films following 2017’s middling Murder on the Orient Express and much maligned and meme’d 2022 Death on the Nile. Branagh once again plays the long mustached Detective Hercule Poirot with the hope that the third time will, in fact, be the charm.

Whether it does or does not isn’t up for debate here, what is though, is if this movie lives up to the haunting in its name. Should this film wear the genre title of horror? Being that A Haunting in Venice is a combination of an Agatha Chrisite novel with a cast including Tina Fey, Michelle Yeoh, and Jamie Dornan no one could blame you for thinking that it isn’t the case.

Branagh took some liberties with his script and strayed from much of the original text, but did he make this truly scary?

Is A Haunting in Venice scary?

Over the last decade the horror mystery genre has exploded with a little studio named Blumhouse leading the way. I can comfortably say, A Haunting in Venice would never have made it to their film library. Aside from a few obvious jump scare moments reminiscent of a darker time (as in worse) in the horror genre, the 2000s, this is more of a straight forward mystery film.

Unfortunately for Branagh, and the film itself really, the story suffers from not leaning more into the horror nature. Trying to toe the line between mystery party á la Glass Onion and supernatural horror like The Conjuring or this year’s Talk to Me, it fails making you wish it leaned one way or another. A good example of success in this space, albeit a little less on the supernatural side, is 2019’s Ready or Not.

In summary, you won’t exactly be screaming bloody murder like some of the characters in A Haunting in Venice. None of it could be scarier than Gal Godot’s acting in Death on the Nile anyway. After you’ve seen it come back to Hidden Remote and check out our review of the film. Maybe the third time really will be the charm for Branagh.

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