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The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

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“A Haunting in Venice” Brings Complex Cinematography To Murder Mystery Storytelling

A Haunting in Venice Brings Complex Cinematography To Murder Mystery Storytelling
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Murder mystery movies like Evil Under the Sun and The Mirror Crack’d  have had the hearts of viewers all the way since they were in black and white. 

Recently, the murder mystery franchise that has retaken over the silver screen has been the investigations of Hercules Poirot, the infamous character created by Agatha Christie. Her stories have been adapted into movies many times, including Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile.

A Haunting in Venice, the newest addition to the Kenneth Branaugh Poirot stories, differs from the previous two significantly. While Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile had been based on novels which share the same name, the newest movie, A Haunting in Venice is based on the novel Hallowe’en Party. 

Another difference the first two movies and the most recent share, is that the two movies Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile are strictly murder mystery centered, while A Haunting in Venice is more of a paranormal vibe.

With a Rotten Tomato score of 75% and a Metacritic score of 77%, I walked into the AMC not knowing what to expect. 

First thing to note about the film was its stunning cinematography. Haris Zambarloukos, the cinematographer behind the movie, utilized the beauty the city of Venice (Italy of course) has to offer. Both the exterior, pertaining to the beautiful canals and architecture, was contrasted with the ominous atmosphere within the Drake House, where the majority of the movie takes place. 

The movie consists of interesting shot after interesting shot. As someone who has been infatuated by filmmaking since a young age, the beautiful use of cinematography captured my attention throughout the entirety of the movie.

The movie itself differs greatly from the first two. It has a bold theme of paranormal, which is uncommon in movies about discovering the truth. It was something that I hadn’t expected to enjoy as much as I did. 

The story follows Detective Hercules Poirot, during his retirement. A favor to a friend leads him to see a séance, in an attempt to debunk the median, as it had his reporter friend stumped. However, without spoiling the film, a murder leads Poirot to leaving his retirement early to solve a case, which paranormal aspects continue to confuse his logical way of thinking.

Following the harsh criticism of Death on the Nile, and even more so before then with the triumph of Murder on the Orient Express, this movie seemed to be desperate to return to the limelight it had once had; and I believe it achieved it. 

I went into the theater not expecting much as I myself am not a super big fan of horror-adjacent content, but its captivating mystery and complex characters made it difficult not to be pulled in.

The writing was quick and witty, and had a few lines that made the theater laugh out loud. It was a nice way to break the tension the audience had been feeling. 

All in all, I really enjoy A Haunting in Venice. I thought they paid homage to the movies that had come before it, from both recent years and from the 20th century. The cinematography was gorgeous, as was the writing and use of cinematic tension. I would recommend those who enjoy murder mystery stories to go see it with an open mind, and a bag of popcorn.

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