British actor and filmmaker Kenneth Branagh rounds out his murder-mystery trilogy this month with A Haunting in Venice, which follows the adventures of renowned Belgian detective Hercule Poirot as he investigates a murder that occurs during a Halloween seance. Branagh himself portrays Poirot, a fictional character from Agatha Christie’s famed novels, particularly Murder on the Orient Express.
As you’ll have noticed in promotional material for A Haunting in Venice, Branagh is back as Poirot — but are the two stories connected?
Dubbed the “Agatha Christie Cinematic Universe,” Branagh kicked off the trilogy in 2017 with a movie adaptation of Christie’s aforementioned 1934 novel of the same name. As Poirot, Branagh led an ensemble cast comprising Tom Bateman, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley. In this installment, set in the 1930s, Poirot’s expertise is called upon when a murder occurs on the luxury Orient Express train service.
Five years after Murder on the Orient Express, Branagh released Death on the Nile – the second consecutive narrative of an eventual trilogy. It served as an adaptation of Christie’s 1937 novel of the same name, also starring Branagh as Poirot. This time, Poirot investigates the deaths of a picture-perfect couple aboard a river steamer. Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders, and Letitia Wright all co-star.
And finally, that brings us to A Haunting in Venice, the overall threequel and immediate sequel to Death on the Nile, which is adapted from Christie’s 1969 novel Hallowe’en Party. The plot follows a now-retired Poirot who reluctantly attends a seance, but when one of the guests meets their untimely demise, it’s up to the former detective to rise to the occasion and solve the case.
In A Haunting in Venice, Branagh is joined by Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Dornan, Tina Fey, Dylan Corbett-Bader, Amir El-Masry, Riccardo Scamarcio, Fernando Piloni, Lorenzo Acquaviva, David Menkin, Camille Cottin, and Kelly Reilly. Unlike Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, Branagh’s efforts mark the first time that Hallowe’en Party has been adapted into a feature film.
A Haunting in Venice arrives in theaters on September 15, 2023.