A Haunting in Venice: Is This the Final Kenneth Branagh Poirot Movie? (2024)

Adapted from the immensely popular novel Hallowe'en Party by prodigious writer Agatha Christie, A Haunting in Venice takes place in post-World War II Venice where Poirot, now retired and living in his own exile, reluctantly attends a séance. Yet, when one of the guests is apparently assassinated, Poirot must involve himself in false spiritualism and the occult to delve into the truth.

As Agatha Christie's investigations and inquests with featured retired detective turned advisor Poirot continued in "Evil Under the Sun" and "Appointment with Death." Both novels ended up as failed early '80s attempts (1982 and 1988, respectively), but there's little guarantee those already-filmed screenplay properties would even be available to 20th Century Studios for remakes. This dubious status on the Poirot intellectual properties leads enthusiasts to wonder if this is the last outing of their favorite mustachioed sleuth.

Why More Poirot Is Needed

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With additional members such as Michelle Yeoh and Tina Fey joining the cast, many enthusiasts speculated an increase in action as well as humor, a departure from the more somber Death on the Nile (2022). The admitted sophom*ore effort of Death on the Nile left fans a bit soured as they'd grown accustomed to the prior, perfectly executed Murder on the Orient Express. Whereas Murder posed better visual dynamics, a larger group of suspects, and the constant sense of motion on a train that lent the sense of forward velocity, Nile forced viewers to take a slower, more contemplative approach to killing.

The problem with Murder on the Orient Express, in particular, is that it's considered Christie's finest work, and it ironically came about because she had written herself into a corner by making nearly every secondary character not just a possible suspect but a likely candidate. The flash of genius to make all suspects guilty is a brilliant creative move taken straight from the subconscious and improbable to be repeated.

Despite all that, A Haunting in Venice allows the Poirot canon to correct the mistakes of the past while simultaneously steering a course toward a more entertaining future and providing a few jaw-droppers along the way. Despite the more inclusive cast, other surprises and changes are in store for fans of Agatha Christie that aren't in the book. Without dispatching spoilers, suffice it to say that even veteran detective novel aficionados will be astonished.

Why Wouldn't the Series Continue?

Poirot receives an invitation to attend a suitably spooky Halloween séance at a haunted palazzo in Venice, Italy. Naturally, a critical skeptic, Poirot ironically plays the counterpart to real-life magician Houdini, who spent his later years trying to expose the get-rich-quick scheme that was spiritualism in the Elizabethan age. Christie adapted actual events taken from the headlines of British tabloids of the age to inspire Haunting, an attempt by the author to inject more suspense and joie-de-vibe into her mystery novel narrative.

It's apparent from the actions of the writer herself that Christie was attempting to correct the course of the ship, as it were. Luckily, her series of novels (including A Haunting in Venice and continuing with other Poirot adventures) means there remains a wealth of possible future film plots to draw upon. Will the show go on? Must the show go on? Luckily for fans, there's good news!

Related: A Haunting in Venice Producer Teases Many More Kenneth Branagh Poirot Movies

Hope on the Horizon!

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Depending on the success of A Haunting in Venice, Branagh has come forward to admit the likely possibility of yet more Poirot sequels. From this statement, fanatics of mystery and suspense can take comfort in the fact that Poirot will undoubtedly return. Although unaddressed, detective fiction has a long and valuable storied history, especially in film. The decline of substantial noir genre fare is regrettable but has left a lucrative niche within the entertainment industry that Poirot can fill.

Related: A Haunting in Venice Trailer Teases Another Whodunnit for Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot

Alongside Sherlock Holmes, Quincy M.D., Jules Maigret, Columbo, Shawn Spencer, and other fantastic but forgotten gumshoes, Poirot was an incredible icon in literature and early film. To see the reprisal and resurgence of suspense fiction and 'thinking-persons' mysteries will inevitably replace superhero fare, at least for a short time. America's love affair with a good puzzle hasn't been satiated since Twin Peaks: The Return (2017) and is sadly on hiatus with MGM+'s From (2022).

A Haunting in Venice will not be the last outing for the quirky gentleman Poirot. The final installment won't be produced until moviegoers thirst for a satisfying enigma has finally been fulfilled, and the beleaguered sleuth can finally sit down and enjoy his steaming cocoa and bummed cigarette.

The world-renowned Belgian private investigator, unequaled in his intellect and insight into the criminal mind, esteemed and respected by police forces and heads of state across the globe, fulfills a need in moviegoers they didn't know they had. Hercule Poirot is unique because he seems to have seen it all.

Every time he's faced with a new puzzle to unravel, he draws upon his past experiences of noticing patterns of human behavior, asking the right questions, and seeing where people tend to slip up. This type of subtlety has been long missed in the entertainment industry. Rest assured, Hercule will be back, and until that day, make certain not to read "Curtain: Poirot's Last Case."

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A Haunting in Venice: Is This the Final Kenneth Branagh Poirot Movie? (2024)
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