Here's What Critics And Fans Are Saying About A Haunting In Venice

Kenneth Branagh is back once again as Detective Hercule Poirot in a brand new Agatha Christie adaptation. "A Haunting in Venice" is the third interpretation of Christie's work by Branagh in the past several years, with the actor and director taking on a lesser-known book by the author for a more overtly horror-driven tale. With a stacked A-list cast that includes the likes of Tina Fey, Jamie Dornan, and Michelle Yeoh, this is one of the most star-studded films of the fall season.

Following 2017's "Murder on the Orient Express" and 2022's "Death on the Nile," this latest Poirot mystery is set in post-World War II Venice on All Hallows' Eve. Now retired and living in exile in the one of world's most glamorous cities, Poirot reluctantly attends a séance at a haunted palazzo. When one of the guests is murdered, the detective is once again thrust into the world he was trying to leave behind.

With the film hitting theaters and moviegoers deciding whether or not this one is for them, we've gathered up some reactions from critics and fans alike. Does it work as a horror movie? Is it as good as Branagh's previous Agatha Christie adaptations? Here's what people are saying.

What does /Film think?

Several members of the /Film team saw "A Haunting in Venice" and had some thoughts on the adaptation of "Hallowe'en Party," Christie's 1969 novel that inspired the film. "Branagh's haunted whodunit is a better horror flick than murder mystery," Matt Donato said. "Didn't expect that, and certainly don't hate it? Watching Poirot try to disprove supernatural events atop a criminal case makes for proper Halloween entertainment."

Bill Bria also saw the film and had similarly kind things to say, calling it, "Another solid Branagh Poirot picture." Bria added that the "H'ween setting allows him to go wild with the camera angles & do some spooky business," while dubbing it "prime whodunit stuff," in addition to also pointing out that the filmmaker leaned into the horror of it all with his latest film.

"'A Haunting in Venice' is an exceptionally atmospheric whodunnit," said /Film's own William Bibbiani. He did have some qualms, adding, "The solution to the murder mystery was telegraphed way too much, but it had a few surprises anyway. It might not be Branagh's most polished Poirot film but it's certainly his most interesting one so far."

Josh Spiegel was less kind to the film in /Film's official 5 out of 10 review of the movie. "There are some mild charms and entertainments in 'A Haunting in Venice,' which tries very, very hard to be spooky and creepy," Spiegel said before adding that it "is saddled with baffling if unsurprising directorial choices and some distracting performances." Spiegel also commented that "the stylish first film in the Kenneth Branagh-directed franchise, 2017's 'Murder on the Orient Express,' seems an awfully long time ago."

What do critics think?

Other critics have been largely kind — with some caveats – to Kenneth Branagh's latest as well. Vital Thrills writer Alan Cerny called it "the best of the Branagh Poirots, by far." Cerny also shared further praise for the film, saying, "Outstanding performances and genuinely scary at times. Branagh just owns this part at this point. What a wonderful locked-room mystery."

Next Best Picture's Matt Neglia was even more effusive in his praise for the film. "'A Haunting in Venice' is my favorite of Kenneth Branagh's three Agatha Christie adaptations," Neglia said. "The horror helps the cinematography, production design & sound work to shine & allows Branagh to dive deeper into Poirot making this the most captivating examination of the character yet."

Variety's Jazz Tangcay was similarly kind to the film, calling it a "brilliant and thrilling whodunnit." She also called out the "Belfast" reunion, with both Jude Hill and Jamie Dornan starring in this film as well. Tangcay also had praise for the soundtrack, saying, "Hildur Guðnadóttir's score is chilling and the crafts, especially production design, shine."

What do fans have to say?

Fans have also had the chance to start weighing in on the film, as there were several early screenings that took place ahead of the wide theatrical rollout. "If you're into thrilling and mysterious movies, you're gonna love this one," said Nikki Pamintuan on Instagram. "It's packed with suspense and tons of jump scares to keep you at the edge of your seat from start to finish!" By and large, this reaction is in line with many others and is packed with overwhelming positivity.

Twitter user AndrewFilms15 also had nice things to say about the film, saying that it "sees Branagh draw back much of the melodrama of his previous Poirot films in favour of a light, fun tinge of horror." But he also had some criticism, adding that, "It does drag a touch, but it's all bolstered by Branagh's best Poirot performance and his most interesting directorial work of the 3." Again, the good far outweighs the bad, it seems.

Lastly, Twitter user xiaolongbbaoo put it all rather simply, saying in all caps, "'A HAUNTING IN VENICE' IS GWED GAIS, GO WATCH IT!" While it may not be grammatically correct, the message is quite clear.

"A Haunting in Venice" is in theaters now.