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The Student News Site of Olathe West High School

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The Student News Site of Olathe West High School

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“A Haunting in Venice” Captures Audience in Awe for Third Agatha Christie Movie Rendition

Photo courtesy of 20th Century
“A Haunting in Venice,” the third movie in the Hercule Poirot series, receives high remarks from viewers in the theaters.

On Sept. 15, the third movie in the Agatha Christie murder mystery series was released in the theaters. This Hercule Poirot film has made over $100 million since it has been released, making it one of the more successful movies in the trilogy.  

The story follows the detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) as he tries to go into exile after a long and successful career as one of the world’s most famous detectives. Poirot’s friend Ariadne Oliver (Tina Fey) is a murder mystery writer and is always looking for her next story. Oliver seeks Poirot’s assistant with a case she can’t figure out, and what seems to be something out of a fairytale. 

The story on the rise is that of a murder that occurred in an old house in Venice. A young girl presumably died from a ghost pushing her off of the top of the building. This palazzo was rumored to be haunted by vengeful ghost children who died from the plague a few years prior. 

Poirot decides to listen to Oliver and accompanies her to a seance at the house during All Hallow’s Eve. He then gets thrusted back into a world of murder and secrets when one of the guests is murdered. 

Kenneth Branagh, along with playing the elusive detective in all three of the Christie mystery films, has also been the director for these projects. 

This film has been one of my favorites in the series. Of the three, the first two being “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Death on the Nile,” the feel of the third film is a little more eerie and unsettling, making it have the sense almost of a horror movie. 

What captured my attention the most in this movie was the fact that the setting itself was more ghostly and sinister than in previous films. In the first, the characters were snowed in on what appeared to be a luxury train. During the second, Poirot and his suspects were on a steamship going through the Nile. Now the characters were in an old house that I personally would never want to step foot in. 

This movie is a different side to Poirot that audiences have seen before. Usually, the detective remains calm and balanced as he solves the crime. During this film however, he remains on edge at the palazzo, always watching his step and looking over his shoulder. Making this character uneasy creates a dynamic for the audience as well to be on the edge of their seat with the main character. 

Throughout the entirety of the film, I was guessing until the end to see if I could solve the mystery before the detective. I ended up narrowing it down to a few suspects and one of my choices was correct. 

It is very interesting however to see how Poirot solves the case. When he figures it out, he takes the audience through a step by step of what really happened and it all makes sense. 

“A Haunting in Venice” perfectly balances a good mystery film with fun from the characters. It was dazzling to watch and see how Branagh creates the Poirot world in his own view and in a way that his audiences can almost relate too. 

The character work from the cast is truly what was driving the story forward. The mother of the girl who was originally murdered, Rowena Drake (Kelly Reily), the doctor Mr. Ferrier (Jamie Dornan) and his son Leopold Ferrier (Jude Hill), the ex fiancé of Drake’s daughter, Maxime Gerard (Kyle Allen), the medium (Michelle Yeoh), the mediums’ friends Desdemona Holland (Emma Laird) and Alessandro Longo (Amir El-Masry), the maid Olga Seminoff (Camille Cottin), and Poirot’s bodyguard Vitale Portfoglio (Riccardo Scamarcio), are all guests in attendance and all have their own stories to tell. 

Each guest, especially Mr. Ferrier and Rowena Drake are very quick to point fingers at each other about who was the true murder of Rowena’s daughter, Alicia (Rowan Robinson). Everyone in attendance is or has had a direct tie to the recently deceased Alicia, making the case more frustrating for Poriot to solve. 

What I particularly like about this movie is the different back stories we get from the guests. While being interrogated by Poiriot, the guests all tell their story and there are even some flashbacks in the scene for the audience to fully understand. 

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the backstory of the characters just as much as watching what was happening in the present tense of the movie. Having backstories as actual scenes helps to provoke thought about who is telling the truth and who is lying. 

Overall, this is one of my favorite movie renditions, not just by Agatha Christie, and I can’t wait for more to hopefully come. I think that Branagh understands his audience and what he is achieving through his Christi fans is truly a feat. 

“A Haunting in Venice” was a joy and a great experience to see in theaters. The dark and cold room was the perfect way to watch a movie with similar traits and I am excited to get the chance to watch this again.

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About the Contributor
Bryce Mallory
Bryce Mallory, Editor-in-Chief
This is senior Bryce Mallory’s second year on the Owl Post staff. This year, she is excited to take on the role of Editor-in-Chief, in addition to being a writer for the newspaper. Bryce is involved in the National Honors Society, Quill & Scroll and orchestra. Outside of school, Bryce loves to read books, watch romcoms, and go to dinner with her friends. She is looking forward to new print papers and loves having a community of friends to work with every day in the newspaper room. 

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