“A Haunting in Venice”

 “A Haunting in Venice”

By Lucas Battista

Kenneth Branagh leaps onto the silver-screen once more as Agatha Christie’s mustachioed Inspector Poirot, in the third edition to a modern spin on her mystery novellas. The film itself takes on a creepy, almost surreal tone, as we are dragged through the corridors of a Venetian villa, armed alongside Poirot with only logic and the senses of a good detective. At times, “A Haunting in Venice” (streaming on Hulu, starring Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Yeoh, Tina Fey, Jamie Dornan, and Kelly Reilly) struggles to deliver on scares, with a kitschy but under-developed menagerie of characters, and can’t help but drown itself in an annoying overuse of Dutch angles that often confuse the story much more than needed.

A film is, at its core, a story told picture by picture, spliced together scene by scene, and if we, as the audience, are unable to follow the ongoing mystery, or make sense of the story, it is certain to suffer. Nonetheless, its novel use of age-old horror tropes creates an interesting flank-product against the prior Kenneth Branagh Agatha Christie reboots (“Murder on the Orient Express,” “Death on the Nile”) and stands a refreshing recovery from a franchise seemingly murdered by mundanity. Hell, I’d recommend it, if you’re bored.

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