Everything We Know About the Agatha Christie Adaptation ‘A Haunting in Venice’

Everything We Know About 'A Haunting in Venice'There’s been no shortage of Agatha Christie adaptions in recent years, and fans of her classic mystery and suspense books can look forward to more in 2023. Not only is her catalog extensive, but her undisputed mastery of suspense, conspiracy fiction, adventure fiction, and, of course, the whodunit, make her work especially ripe for adaptation. There’s little that’s as satisfying as watching a perfectly acted murder mystery unfold on screen. One of the year’s most exciting Agatha Christie adaptions is A Haunting in Venice, a new film directed by Kenneth Branagh and based on Christie’s 1969 novel Hallowe’en Party. The film is set to premier on September 15 of this year, just in time for spooky season. Here’s everything we know so far about the adaptation.

Hallowe’en Party is set in in the English village of Woodleigh Common, and concerns the disturbing events of a Halloween party. One of the guests, a 13-year-old girl named Joyce Reynolds, seeking attention, tells everyone that she once witnessed a murder, but that she didn’t realize it at the time. None of the guests take her claims seriously, and she storms off in agitation. Later, she’s founded drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. One of the other guests calls in Hercule Poirot to solve the case. Of course it turns out to be more complicated than anyone first guessed, and soon the whole village is drawn into the fray.

A Haunting in Venice draws inspiration from the original novel, but will diverge significantly when it comes to plot. It’s not set in one of Christie’s classic English villages, but in post–World War II Venice. Poirot is retired and living in self-imposed exile. Against his better judgement, he attends a séance on Halloween. When one of the guests is murdered, he’s compelled to find the killer, despite his claims of retirement. There’s not much information available yet beyond the basic premise, but it sounds like the film will lean heavily into the Halloween setting, highlighting the original novel’s creepy October ambience. Hopefully Christie fans will get some atmospheric scares!

The film is directed by British actor and filmmaker Kenneth Branagh, who will also star as Hercule Poirot. This will be his third Poirot film, after Murder on the Orient Express (2017) and Death on the Nile (2022). Murder on the Orient Express is one of Christie’s most beloved works, and the film received mostly positive reviews. It was the first film adaption since Sidney Lumet’s 1974 classic, which remains a favorite among many fans. Similarly, Branagh’s 2022 Murder on the Orient Express was the second big-screen adaptation—the first was released in 1978.

Hallowe’en Party is one of the more obscure Hercule Poirot novels, and though it has been adapted as part of the British TV series Agatha Christie’s Poirot, it hasn’t gotten the big-screen treatment until now. Branagh seems to have settled into his role in the new franchise, both as star and director, and A Haunting in Venice is perhaps a sign that he’s interested in delving deeper into the Poirot canon, and exploring some of the lesser-known—but no less exciting—stories. Agatha Christie fans who’ve been craving more movie adaptions that draw on some of the hidden gems in her oeuvre should definitely take note.

Kenneth Branagh will be joined by an all-star cast, including Jamie Dornan, Tina Fey, Jude Hill, Kelly Reilly and Michelle Yeoh. The movie began filming in October 2022, in London and on location in Venice.