A Haunting in Venice is a 2023 American mystery film produced and directed by Kenneth Branagh from a screenplay by Michael Green, loosely based on the 1969 Agatha Christie novel Hallowe’en Party. It serves as a sequel to Death on the Nile (2022) and is the third film in which Branagh reprises his role as the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.[5] The ensemble cast includes Kyle AllenCamille CottinJamie DornanTina FeyJude HillAli KhanEmma LairdKelly ReillyRiccardo Scamarcio, and Michelle Yeoh.

A Haunting in Venice was released in the United States on September 15, 2023, by 20th Century Studios. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and has grossed $122 million worldwide.

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“A Haunting in Venice” – A Melding of Mystery and the Supernatural by Kenneth Branagh


“A Haunting in Venice” marks another intriguing entry into Kenneth Branagh’s illustrious career, showcasing his unique ability to blend genres and create atmospheric cinema. Set in post-World War II Venice, the film is an adaptation of a literary work, reimagined by Branagh to fit the silver screen. It masterfully intertwines elements of mystery, suspense, and supernatural, offering viewers an immersive and thought-provoking experience.

Setting the Stage

The film opens with the haunting beauty of Venice, a city steeped in history and mystery. The setting plays a crucial role in the film, with its Gothic architecture, mist-laden canals, and an aura of decay and grandeur. Branagh’s Venice is not just a backdrop but a character in itself, essential to the unfolding of the story.

Narrative Structure

Branagh employs a non-linear narrative, a technique that enhances the mystery and allows for a deeper exploration of the characters’ backstories. The story unfolds in layers, with flashbacks and present-day events interwoven to create a tapestry of intrigue and suspense.

The Protagonist and Character Dynamics

The protagonist, a former British intelligence officer turned detective, is a complex character brought to life with a nuanced performance. He arrives in Venice under the guise of a simple assignment but soon finds himself in a labyrinth of supernatural occurrences and hidden secrets.

The film features a diverse ensemble of characters, including the enigmatic headmistress of the boarding school, the secretive staff, and the curious students. Each character is meticulously crafted, with their own backstory and motivations adding to the rich tapestry of the narrative.

The Unraveling of the Mystery

As the detective delves deeper into the strange happenings at the boarding school, the film masterfully balances elements of a traditional whodunit with the eerie undertones of a ghost story. Branagh plays with the audience’s expectations, leading them down one path only to surprise them with unexpected twists.

Themes and Symbolism

“A Haunting in Venice” delves into themes of grief, loss, and the human desire to connect with the past. The supernatural elements serve as metaphors for the characters’ internal struggles and the unseen forces that shape their lives. The film also touches on the impact of war and the scars it leaves on individuals and society.

Cinematography and Visuals

Branagh, known for his visual storytelling, does not disappoint. The film’s cinematography is striking, using the play of light and shadows to create an atmosphere that is both beautiful and haunting. The Gothic elements of Venice are captured in a way that enhances the mood of the film, making it visually captivating.

Direction and Style

Kenneth Branagh’s direction is precise and intentional. His style, characterized by attention to detail and a deep understanding of the source material, shines through in every scene. He manages to create a film that is both true to the spirit of the original story and innovative in its execution.


The performances in “A Haunting in Venice” are noteworthy. The protagonist, portrayed by a seasoned actor, delivers a layered performance, capturing the essence of a man torn between his rational beliefs and the inexplicable events he witnesses. The supporting cast also delivers strong performances, each adding depth to the story.

Music and Sound Design

The film’s score and sound design are integral to its atmosphere. The music is haunting and evocative, complementing the film’s tone and setting. The sound design adds to the suspense, with subtle cues that heighten the sense of unease.

Reception and Impact

“A Haunting in Venice” is a film that stays with the viewer long after it ends. It has been well-received for its intelligent storytelling, atmospheric setting, and compelling performances. The film not only entertains but also invites the audience to ponder the deeper themes it explores.


Kenneth Branagh’s “A Haunting in Venice” is a masterful blend of mystery and the supernatural. It is a film that showcases Branagh’s skills as a director and storyteller, offering a cinematic experience that is both engaging and thought-provoking. With its intricate plot, rich character development, stunning visuals, and haunting score, the film is a testament to Branagh’s ability to create compelling cinema that resonates with audiences.