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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

A Haunting in Venice - Canals, Conundrums, and Missed Chances

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5)

Released 09-15-2023

Watched 09-16-2023

Reviewed 09-18-2023

Viewed in Theater - Using Cinemark Movie Club



"I would welcome, with open arms, any honest sign of devil, or demon, or ghost. For if there is a ghost, there is a soul. If there is a soul, there is a God who made it."



In the evocative labyrinth of Venice's canals, where whispers of legends and tales of ghosts linger, "A Haunting in Venice" seeks to carve out its own space within the horror-mystery genre. Yet, it becomes evident early on that this film is adrift, much like a gondola without its gondolier, meandering without direction.


The film opens with promise. Our beloved detective Poirot, now retired and ensconced in the timeless beauty of Venice, is pulled into a world of spectral secrets within a decaying palazzo. The premise, dripping with atmospheric potential, sets the stage for what could have been a masterful blend of suspense and supernatural intrigue. However, the narrative, instead of capitalizing on the rich backdrop and lore of Venice, drowns in its own ambition.


One would anticipate, given the title and setting, a gripping horror story punctuated with moments that make one's heart race. Instead, the movie lingers, sometimes unnecessarily so, on dialogues and subplots that detract from the central mystery. The promise of a haunted atmosphere is reduced to mere shadows and fleeting suggestions, failing to anchor the story or its characters in any palpable tension. As a result, the plot becomes a sluggish dance, toeing the line between horror and mystery without ever fully embracing either.


Comparisons to "Knives Out" arise not just because of the genre but because of the potential "A Haunting in Venice" showed. Where the former was sharp, concise, and witty, the latter seems uncertain, often missing the beats that would have elevated it from being merely average.


For Poirot enthusiasts, there is some solace. The character, with his distinct idiosyncrasies, might provide moments of nostalgic comfort. But it's a stretch to say that this will resonate with all. Those unfamiliar with "Orient Express" and "Death on the Nile" might find themselves particularly adrift, seeking an anchor in a story that, while beautifully set, is dismally executed.


In conclusion, while "A Haunting in Venice" boasts a picturesque setting and a beloved central character, it sadly remains a ghost of what it could have been—a hauntingly memorable cinematic experience.

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