‘A Haunting in Venice’ Is Yet Another Dud for Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

‘A Haunting in Venice’ Is Yet Another Dud for Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot

20th Century Studios

If there is one thing that Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot films have become known for, it’s being bad. Scratch that; there are two things: being bad and starring alleged abusers. The abuse allegations brought against star Johnny Depp soured 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express, and 2022’s Death on the Nile felt downright repugnant after the Armie Hammer of it all. Neither of those things were exactly Branagh’s fault (though Depp was cast only a few months after Amber Heard’s allegations), but they didn’t exactly help the actor-director’s takes on Agatha Christie’s famous gumshoe soar, either.

Despite being mired by their controversies, Branagh’s first two Poirot films—in which he also stars as the detective—were ridiculous enough to enjoy (though some of that amusement should be attributed to Christie’s durable source material). The movies made good use of their all-star ensembles to mask their issues with pacing, and built enough silly mystery atop their confined atmosphere for some fun, if forgettable, Saturday matinee fare. But with Branagh’s latest Poirot outing, A Haunting in Venice, those tricks are getting as old as the aging detective, who is coming out of retirement for a macabre twist on the classic whodunit. Branagh may have avoided working with any names that would generate headlines for the wrong reasons this time, but A Haunting in Venice is far worse than controversial: It’s downright boring.

That’s not for lack of trying, of course. The film is happy to pepper in new loud noises or jump scares every other minute, preying on the pacemakers of the poor older generation who will buy a ticket to see Christie’s work adapted once more; this time, Branagh pulls from her 1969 novel The Hallowe’en Party. But all of those frights—which only become less potent and easier to predict as they stack up—are just an obnoxious distraction from the film’s startling lack of intrigue. Even more surprising is how quickly the movie fritters what compelling mystery it has by trying to effectively blend sleuthing with horror, something Christie herself was no stranger to.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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