First reactions land for new Agatha Christie movie A Haunting in Venice

kelly reilly, a haunting in venice
First reactions land for A Haunting in VeniceOllie Upton - 20th Century Studios

A Haunting in Venice is the latest all-star Agatha Christie adaptation from Sir Kenneth Branagh, and first reactions to the new movie have now arrived ahead of its cinema release.

Adapted from Christie's novel Hallowe'en Party, A Haunting in Venice sees a now-retired Hercule Poirot (Branagh) reluctantly attend a séance on All Hallows' Eve in post-World War II Venice, where he now lives in self-imposed exile.

It's not long though before one of the guests is murdered, and Poirot has to shake off his retirement to solve his latest case.

Those lucky few to have already seen A Haunting in Venice have now taken to social media to share their first reactions to the movie. So is the new adaptation an early Halloween treat for Christie fans?

kelly reilly, a haunting in venice
Ollie Upton - 20th Century Studios

"A Haunting in Venice is the best movie in Kenneth Branaghs's Hercule Poirot saga. It's an ingenious, twisty and surprisingly spooky whodunnit, blessed with a nightmarish version of Venice and a stellar cast," wrote Digital Spy's deputy movies editor Mireia Mullor.

Carson Timar, Editor in Chief of Clapper agreed, calling the film "a fantastic Halloween murder mystery" that is Kenneth Branagh's best Hercule Poirot feature to date.

"With incredible visuals, a brooding haunting tone, and a satisfying conclusion, this has all the elements to be a yearly tradition," he wrote.

Variety's Jazz Tangcay was similarly impressed, enjoying one scene in particular. "Loved the Belfast reunion with Jude Hill and Jamie Dornan," she wrote, adding: "Another brilliant and thrilling whodunnit from Kenneth Branagh."

"A Haunting In Venice perfectly combines mystery and horror elements in a way that neither one overshadows the other," wrote Rotten Tomatoes film critic Tessa Smith.

"It's spooky with fantastic jump scares and a great mystery. My two favorite genres so I am very happy. Tina Fey is fantastic!"

Critic Bill Bria, who writes for Slash Film, called A Haunting in Venice "another solid Branagh Poirot picture", whilst film director Joe Russo (one half of the Russo Brothers) said it was "dripping with macabre".

"The Halloween-set murder mystery is a wide-angle lens love-fest that is a welcome stylistic shakeup, swapping NILE’s green screens for atmospheric, physical locations," he explained.

Hello Magazine's Rebecca Lewis said that the movie took "time to find its groove" but turned out to be a "captivating" watch, which was "helped by gorgeous production design & score, & just enough jump scares to keep you on edge".

One less favourable review of the film came from Rama Tampubolon of Rama's Screen, who disagreed with his fellow critics, claiming A Haunting in Venice "was the weakest of the Hercule Poirot saga".

"Less predictable than the 2nd film but that’s a low bar," he explains. "The reveals were also downright ludicrous.

"Thank god for the cinematography that at times kept it from being painfully chatty & mind-numbing."

Branagh has assembled another all-star cast for A Haunting in Venice, including Yellowstone star Kelly Reilly, Call My Agent's Camille Cottin, Jamie Dornan, Michelle Yeoh, Tina Fey and Mayor of Kingstown's Emma Laird, among others.

The movie is the third Christie novel that Branagh has directed, following Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile.

Both movies had solid, if unspectacular reviews, but only Murder on the Orient Express was a box-office hit with $353 million and Death on the Nile struggled, grossing only $137 million.

A Haunting in Venice is released in cinemas on September 15.

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