Everyone loves a good mystery, and no one does good mysteries better than the queen of murder mysteries, Agatha Christie! After the success of Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, Detective Hercule Poirot is back to solve another murder mystery—this time in the middle of Venice, Italy. A Haunting in Venice is the latest Agatha Christie adaptation we will be getting from Kenneth Branagh on the big screen and is one of the most anticipated movies this September!
A Haunting in Venice will see Detective Poirot back on a mystery-solving mission after his retirement and self-imposed exile. Unable to say no to a challenge, he accepts an invitation to attend a séance where one of the guests ends up dead. The movie follows the events of Murder on The Orient Express and Death on the Nile but features a whole new ensemble cast (except for Branagh, of course!) and a whole new murder mystery to solve.
As we dive into the little details we have about the upcoming movie, let’s also talk about the previous films, the Agatha Christie inspiration and what you can expect from the next adventure of Hercule Poirot.
Previously on Hercule Poirot Solves Murder Mysteries
Kenneth Branagh is not the first actor to play the role of Agatha Christie’s famous detective, Hercule Poirot. However, he gave Poirot a new life on the screen and presented him to the audience in a way they had never seen him before. In these new Hercule Poirot adventures, we see a more personal side of the detective and how his job takes a toll on his own mental health and perspective of himself.
Murder on the Orient Express
The first film, Murder on the Orient Express, is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel with the same title. It follows Poirot as he finds himself a passenger on the luxurious Orient Express from Istanbul to London. One of the passengers, an American businessman, asks Poirot to act as his bodyguard, for he has received several life-threatening notes and fears for his life. Poirot, uninterested, refuses the offer. Later that night, Poirot hears a commotion from the businessman’s compartment and finds him dead.
On a moving train with only thirteen other passengers, Poirot decides that one of them must be the murderer and sets out to solve the mystery. After some investigation, Poirot discovers that the American businessman has been using a false identity and is, in fact, a convicted murderer himself. He previously kidnapped and murdered a young girl, which caused utter devastation to her family. Both her mother and father committed suicide after her death. Her governess was falsely accused of murder and committed suicide while in custody.
Poirot investigates the passengers’ connection to the girl and her family and discovers that every passenger on the train has a personal connection to that murdered family. He then reveals his findings to the passengers and accuses them of working together to kill the man. They confess to the murder. Poirot, someone who is obsessed with truth and balance, offers to keep their secret as the man deserves to die. For the first time in his life, Poirot does not work by the book.
Death on the Nile
In 1937, at a blues club, Hercule Poirot witnessed Jackie De Bellfort introduce her fiance, Simon Doyle, to wealthy heiress Linnet Ridgeway. The introduction was all about business, as Linnet agreed to hire Simon as her land manager. Six weeks later, in Egypt, Poirot meets his friend Bouc, who invites him to attend the wedding of none other than Simon and Linnet!
After the wedding, the couple and a group of friends, including Poirot, board a cruise ship to Abu Simbel. Linnet asks Poirot for his protection as she claims that Jackie, Simon’s former fiancee, is stalking them with ill intent. Poirot attempts to talk to Jacki but fails to convince her to leave them alone. One night on the boat, as Linnet is asleep, Simon tries to confront Jackie. She shoots him in the leg and attempts to kill herself, but Bouc and his girlfriend stop her and restrain her. The following day, Linnet is found dead.
Poirot starts to investigate and finds out that every single passenger has a motive to kill Linnet. After finding Linnet’s valuable necklace with Bouc’s mother, Poirot interrogates Bouc and finds out that he attempted to steal the necklace from Linnet’s dead body but got nervous and left it in his mother’s purse. Before Bouc could reveal the murderer, he was shot dead.
After Bouc’s death, Poirot solves the case. Simon killed Linnet with Jackie’s help. Both Simon and Jackie never broke up and have attempted to cheat Linnet out of her money. They pretended to confront each other and faked shooting Simon in the leg. After Jacki was apprehended, Simon returned to his room and killed Linnet. With everything out in the open, Linnet hugs Simon and then produces a gun and shoots them both dead.
A Haunting in Venice: An Agatha Christie Story
The third instalment in Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot stories will be based on Agatha Christie’s novel Hallowe’en Party. The 1969 novel is one of Christie’s least-liked novels and received many mixed reviews. You’re probably thinking, then, why would they adapt it? We can only assume that they want to try and give it a new life.
A Haunting in Venice is supposedly adapted from Christie’s Hallowe’en Party. However, some things are already wholly different. Hallowe’en Party, for starters, takes place in a small English village, while A Haunting in Venice takes place in the big Italian city of Venice. It can be argued that the larger setting will fit the story better since the most famous aspect of Hallowe’en City is its abundance of murders, and that is more likely to happen in a big city than in a small village.
Another big difference is the addition of the séance, which is not a part of the Hallowe’en Party at all. However, there is another Agatha Christie novel, Dumb Witness, that revolves around a séance, so maybe they’re pulling from there.
Changing the source material is always a hit-or-miss strategy with adaptations. It’s a significant risk that, more likely than not, leaves fans disappointed. However, if done right and stays true to the source material’s spirit, even if they change the actual events, changing the source material can make the story fresh and exciting. According to executive producer James Prichard, the risk was a must to give A Haunting in Venice a sense of surprise and delight.
The Plot Thickens
Not much is released about the actual plot of A Haunting in Venice, and it should be this way since it is a murder mystery, and no one wants to be spoiled! However, we’ll tell you what we know from the trailer and the official plot summary released.
A Haunting in Venice will follow Detective Hercule Poirot, who is now retired and is in a self-imposed exile in Italy. He meets up with his friend Ariadne Oliver, who invites him to attend a séance with her. During the séance, one of the guests is murdered! Being someone who values truth and balance, Poirot refuses to believe that paranormal activity has occurred and caused the death of the guest. He, instead, starts to investigate the murder to find the real killer.
The story will follow a typical Hercule Poirot murder mystery. However, we are also promised some twists and unexpected turns from the movie makers. If the movie follows the style of Death on the Nile, the audience might get a deeper look into Poirot’s personal life as well.
The Cast of A Haunting in Venice
In true Agatha Christie’s adaptation fashion, A Haunting in Venice will feature an ensemble of Hollywood’s best talent. The movie is directed and led by Kenneth Branagh, who is joined by Michelle Yeoh, Tina Fey, Camille Cottin, Jamie Dornan, Kelly Reilly, and more. Let’s get to know them a bit more!
Kenneth Branagh As Hercule Poirot
Kenneth Branagh is a British filmmaker and actor who was born in Belfast. He is known to have directed and starred in many of his own projects, such as his Academy Award-nominated film Henry V (1989), Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Othello (1995), and Hamlet (1996).
He has also directed blockbusters such as Marvel’s Thor (2011), Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014), and Cinderella (2015). He directed and starred in both previous Hercule Poirot films and will do the same in A Haunting in Venice. Kenneth Branagh was nominated as Best Director and Best Actor for his biographical film Belfast and won the award for Best Screenplay.
Michelle Yeoh As Joyce Reynolds
Michelle Yeoh is an Academy Award-winning Malaysian actress. She rose to fame participating in Hong Kong action films, where she did her own stunts and gained a reputation for being a marvellous action star.
She later moved to the United States, where she gained international stardom from movies such as James Bond: Tomorrow Never Dies and several Aang Lee Martial films. She won her Academy Award for Best Actress for her leading role in the multiverse phenomena Everything Everywhere All At Once, as well as a Golden Globe Award, a SAG Award and an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress.
Tina Fey As Ariadne Oliver
Tina Fey is an American comedy legend. She started her career as a writer for Saturday Night Live and later made it to head writer and performer from 1997 to 2006. Her various comedy sketches and performances gained her a lot of critical acclaim.
After leaving SNL, Fey created comedy sitcoms such as 30 Rock (2006-2020) and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015-2020). She also starred in many popular comedy films, such as Mean Girls (2004), Baby Mama (2008), Sisters (2015) and Wine Country (2019). Tina Fey was a nine-time Emmy Award winner, three-time Golden Globe Award winner and seven-time Writer Guild of America Award winner.
Camille Cottin As Olga Seminoff
Cammile Cottin is a French actress who rose to fame in France for her lead role in the film series The Parisian Bitch, Princess of Hearts (2015). She then starred in several French movies, such as Photo De Famille (2018) and The Mystery of Henri Pick (2019).
She had her English-language debut in the film Allied (2016). She also had a role in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s sensational crime series Killing Eve (2020-2022).
Jamie Dornan As Dr Leslie Ferrier
Jamie Dornan is a British actor from Northern Ireland. He started his career as a model for Hugo Boss, Dior and Calvin Klein and was named one of the most prominent models of all time by Vogue in 2015.
He started acting in 2006 and gained international fame for his role in the series Once Upon a Time from 2011 to 2013. He later won an Irish Film and Television Award for his role as the serial killer Paul Spector in The Fall (2013). He grew his career through many projects such as Sophia Cappola’s Marie Antoinette, Fifty Shades Franchise and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination.
Kelly Reilly As Rowena Drake
Kelly Reily is an English actress who started her career in the English series The Biz (1995). She went on to appear in multiple dramas such as Above Suspicion (2009-2012), Black Box (2014) and True Detective (2015). She has been leading the Yellowstone series since 2018, opposite Kevin Costner.
Her movie roles include portraying Caroline Bingley in Jane Austen’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (2005). She also played Mary Morstan in Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes (2009) and its sequel, A Game of Shadows (2009).
A Haunting in Venice Release Date
A Haunting in Venice will be released worldwide in theatres on 15 September 2023. Despite being a thriller and a murder mystery, the movie is rated PG-13. You can take your friends and family (no young children!) to see it in theatres when it’s out in September.
If solving murder mysteries or at least watching someone solve one is something you enjoy, then A Haunting in Venice is a movie you do not want to miss! For all the Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fans out there, this movie is for you, so make sure you take your friends and see it when it’s out this September!