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Review: “A Haunting in Venice” is a significant improvement from other Agatha Christie adaptations [MUSE]

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I went to see “A Haunting In Venice” in theaters shortly after its release on Sept. 15, and although I’m a devout Agatha Christie fan, my hopes were not high. I was disappointed by both “Death on the Nile” and “Murder on the Orient Express,” Kenneth Branagh’s first two Agatha Christie adaptations, and I found the writing and the acting in both films to be lackluster. Still, after seeing the trailers for Branagh’s third attempt at bringing a Christie novel to life, I decided to give the movie a try.

As a huge horror fan, I was pleasantly surprised by “A Haunting in Venice”. The energy surrounding the film is entirely different from the other movies in Branagh’s budding franchise, and instead of feeling like yet another overdone whodunit, the movie is perfectly ominous and visually gorgeous, as well as incredibly written. This time around, Branagh’s Poirot doesn’t take himself too seriously but leans into sardonic humor that works well for both the character and the film. I’m exceptionally critical of movies in general, and I almost exclusively watch comedies or horrors, but “A Haunting in Venice” met my standards in both categories.

Even though I have lots of good things to say about this movie, I would like to note that I have never read the source material on which it was based. I did, however, Google the plot, and I was disappointed to find “A Haunting in Venice” is barely similar at all to “Hallowe’en Party”, written by Christie in 1969. I loved reading both “Death on the Nile” and “Murder on the Orient Express”, and among my top complaints for both of the film adaptations were the departures from the books I knew and loved. To my knowledge, “A Haunting in Venice” takes creative liberties to the extreme, so to those who are familiar with “Hallowe’en Party,” it may be wise to steer clear from the movie. 

My only other complaint would be the casting of Tina Fey–which is a sentence I never imagined I would write. I adore her work in comedy, but her unfortunate detour into psychological horror came off as overdone and campy rather than sophisticated. But all in all, watching “A Haunting in Venice” was well worth my time, and as long as you haven’t read the novel, it would be well worth yours as well.

On this blog, members of the Carmel High School chapter of the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists (and the occasional guest writer) produce curations of all facets of popular culture, from TV shows to music to novels to technology. We hope our readers always leave with something new to muse over. Click here to read more from MUSE.  

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