A Haunting in Venice: who’s in it, what is it about and is Kenneth Branagh starring in a horror movie?

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Belgian super-sleuth Hercule Poirot returns to cinemas this month, looking to solve a spooky case of murder after a seance.

Kenneth Branagh returns to the role once made famous by fellow British actor, David Suchet, as the latest instalment of a Hercule Poirot mystery arrives in cinemas shortly with ‘A Haunting In Vence,’ based on the Agatha Christie story ‘Hallowe’en Party.’ 

It marks the third entry into Branagh’s Poirot-verse, after making his debut as the beloved Belgian sleuth in 2017’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ and ‘Death On The Nile’ released only last year. 

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But on this occasion, some poetic license is being used to frame the movie more as a supernatural mystery, with elements of horror involved - at least according to Christie’s great-grandson James Prichard, who is a producer on the new film.

“Having made two very traditional big titles into films, they wanted to do something different, not only in terms of tone but in how they treated the story,” he explained to the Daily Mail. “Hallowe'en Party has been moved from an English village to Venice and is the launchpad for something totally different.”

'I think it will surprise people because although it's a murder mystery, it's also a horror film and a suspense thriller, and will have jump-out-of-your-seat moments. It feels like a Christie but there is something else to it too. Changing her stories is not something we do lightly – it is a big leap but occasionally worth it, and I think this was one of those occasions.'

What is ‘A Haunting in Venice’ about?

Much like Agatha Christie’s book the film is based on, the synopsis for the film reads: “When everyone is preparing games and decorations for a Hallowe'en party held at Rowena Drake's home in Woodleigh Common, 13-year-old Joyce Reynolds tells everyone attending she had once seen a murder but had not realised it was one until later. When the party ends, Joyce is found dead, having been drowned in an apple-bobbing tub.” 

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“Ariadne Oliver, attending the party while visiting her friend Judith Butler, calls on Hercule Poirot to investigate the murder and Joyce's claim. With help from retired Superintendent Spence, Poirot makes a list of deaths and disappearances for the last few years in Woodleigh Common”

Is ‘A Haunting in Venice’ a horror movie?

Not strictly speaking; 20th Century is touting the film as a ‘supernatural mystery,’ so expect some elements of horror involved, but nothing that we would outright state makes the mystery an outright video nasty. 

Though given Christie’s great-grandson has said to expect some jumps, we don’t think there will be an overtly visceral/violent nature to the film - so we’re sticking with ‘supernatural mystery’ rather than ‘horror.’

Who is starring in ‘A Haunting in Venice’?

As one has come to expect from Branagh’s Hercule Poirot series, the cast features some big names from Hollywood, including:

  • Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot
  • Kyle Allen as Maxime Gerard
  • Camille Cottin as Olga Seminoff
  • Jamie Dornan as Dr. Leslie Ferrier
  • Tina Fey as Ariadne Oliver
  • Jude Hill as Leopold Ferrier
  • Ali Khan as Nicholas Holland
  • Emma Laird as Desdemona Holland
  • Kelly Reilly as Rowena Drake
  • Riccardo Scamarcio as Vitale Portfoglio
  • Michelle Yeoh as Joyce Reynolds

When is ‘A Haunting in Venice’ out?

A Haunting in Venice will be released in cinemas in the United Kingdom and the United States on September 15, 2023.

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