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Film Reviews by Lisa Blanck
A Haunting In Venice
| Friday, 09.22.2023, 09:06 PM |   (388 views)

When every character has a motive to want someone dead, you usually have a Christie.  That’s Dame Agatha Christie, to the uninformed.  Hercule Poirot appeared in 33 of her novels and A Haunting In Venice, the new film based on Christie’s “Hallowe’en Party”, may be one of the most chilling.

A young woman has drowned at a Venetian palazzo, and her bereft and grieving mother Rowena (Kelly Reilly) wishes to hold a séance to reach her dead daughter for one last emotional tear-fest.  She has enlisted the help of a writer (Tina Fey) to convince the man with the great moustache, Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) to help officiate the séance.  Poirot has gone into seclusion, determined to have finally put others use of his little grey cells in solving crimes in his rearview.

But Poirot is intrigued, he just can’t help himself. So off he goes, on Halloween, to the scene of what may or may not have been a crime.  Whether murder, suicide or an accident remains to be seen.

The film is jampacked with notable celebrities including recent Academy Award Winner Michelle Yeoh as Mrs. Reynolds, the woman who can speak with the dead.  She was recently labelled as a witch and has been enlisted to spot what might be a con-job within the palazzo halls. During the séance, Reynolds claims “the voices speak and I take dictation”.

Nothing is at it seems to be in the palazzo, which once was the scene of a massive murder of children by members of the Venetian medical community.  Was that terrible crime, known as “the Children’s Vendetta”, the impetus for the death of Rowena’s daughter, or is there something even more sinister, more earth-bound going on?  Is Poirot losing his mind, is the palazzo haunted by ghosts, are the spirits of the dead taking their revenge?  The bulk of the film is shot during a torrential rainstorm, the basement is flooding, the beams are rotting and everyone is not only under suspicion but they are under threat of death by ….. what or whom?

A Haunting In Venice is less of a costume drama than other Christies that Branagh has brought to the screen, and far more atmospheric.  Seen in a theater where the booming of the thunderclaps and the pounding rain made the seats shake added a huge element of tension to an already taut production.

Lisa Blanck is the Associate Editor and Movie Reviewer for In  Her background includes 30+ years of digital editing for WESH2 News and WKMG News.  She also edits on-air promotional spots for Matter Of Fact, the number one nationally syndicated news and information program.  For more than 30 years she has covered the Florida Film Festival and the World Peace Film Festival, with additional experience in advertising, marketing, promotions and live special events at MTV Networks.  She was previously a columnist for the Focus In Newspaper and is a member of the Critics Association of Central Florida.  

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