Taking advantage of his retirement in Venice, Hercule Poirot reluctantly accepts the invitation of a novelist friend to a spiritualism session. When one of the guests is killed, the famous detective must return to service.

For his third time in the shoes of Hercule Poirot – in addition to being back behind the camera – Kenneth Branagh reveals the vulnerability of the infallible detective. Faced with supernatural phenomena, his ultra-rational mind is put to the test. He doubts, jumps, is alone in seeing and hearing certain things. He even felt unwell during an interrogation.

Since Kenneth Branagh and screenwriter Michael Green adapted Agatha Christie novels for the big screen, their treatment of Poirot has been similar to that of James Bond or even that of a superhero – Michael Green co-wrote Green Lantern and Logan. As mysterious as he is effective, the sleuth’s only weaknesses are the scars of the past and his humility. It is interesting to see him destabilized by the events inside a Venetian palazzo which seems haunted, even if they go somewhat in circles.

Inspired by the book Hallowe’en Party – transposed here to the cinema for the first time – the story includes elements of horror and borrows a gothic style. Although the trailer is almost that of a horror film, the essence remains similar to what we saw in Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile. A Haunting in Venice is, in our opinion, superior thanks to its macabre atmosphere, with a more unpredictable Poirot, but above all by the variety of its secondary characters.

The cast of A Haunting in Venice, however, does not rival the (all-star) cast of Murder on the Orient Express, but the characters form a more amusing lineup of suspects/witnesses/victims. Tina Fey (Date Night) adds humor, Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once), the strange, Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes), fragility. Young Emma Laird and Jude Hill are also very convincing. Only Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey) is not up to par. A bit like Gal Gadot in Death on the Nile…

The magnificent images are still those of cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos, while Hildur Guðnadóttir (Joker, Tár) skillfully takes over from Patrick Doyle for the music.

As long as the public is there, Kenneth Branagh and Michael Green could continue their series of adaptations of Agatha Christie stories for a long time. The formula will never be stunning, but it is effective enough to entertain a good number of moviegoers.