Is ‘A Haunting in Venice’ a horror film?

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It’s not immediately obvious when you watch that trailer Investing in Venice a Hercule Poirot murder mystery and sequel to Massacre on the Orient Express (and Death on the Nile but no one is really talking about that one.) As advertised it seems that the film could stand alongside such Insidious and Sinister; at least that’s what the trailer makes it look like.

Very scary stuff, but is Kenneth Branagh’s new film really horror, or is it just for show?

What is a concept?

There are, of course, elements of horror within the film. It begins with a séance in an old palazzo. The Italian building is said to be haunted by the spirits of children and Poirot is here to prove that the psychic (Michelle Yeoh) is a con artist. In fact, when the waiters start dropping like flies people start to suspect that there might actually be ghosts serving with the living guests. Even Poirot begins to question his belief that the world of spirits is just like smoke and mirrors.

That sounds scary, but is it really scary?

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

I guess that depends on what you would consider horror. Everyone has their own threshold when it comes to fear. If you’re the type to get scared easily you might think this is horror, but compared to some of the horror flicks that have been released recently, I don’t know .

Are there a few scary scenes? There are. Would I call it a horror movie? No. Although the trailers may be presented as such, Investing in Venice It’s not much more surprising than the other two films in the Poirot-verse. This latest installment only tastes awful rather than scary. Plus, it still has a PG-13 rating.

In reality, it’s just a very bland and conventional murder mystery, and that pretty much trumps all fear. We have too many scenes of dialogue and debate for the film to be a truly terrifying experience. Although Branagh may toy with the idea that his film is a ghost story, it never strays from its roots as a mystery thriller.

The film is based on the Agatha Christie book Halloween party although much of the plot and setting were changed. The novel itself is not horror but as most detective stories do, it veers into scary territory just a smidge and in that sense, the a similar film followed.

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