A Haunting In Venice (Blu-ray Review)

Hercule Poirot went on a third mystery adventure this past fall, which also doubled as kicking off a rocking horror season at the multiplex. This third film didn’t quite land on financial expectations but managed to spawn the best reviews of the Kenneth Branagh adaptations. Unfortunately, unlike the first two, A Haunting in Venice will only be available on standard Blu-ray. It comes with a 7.1 track, a making-of featurette and deleted scenes. It releases on November 28th. You can pre-order a copy now using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review at the bottom of the page.



A Haunting in Venice is set in eerie, post-World War II Venice on All Hallows’ Eve and is a terrifying mystery featuring the return of the celebrated sleuth, Hercule Poirot. Now retired and living in self-imposed exile in the world’s most glamorous city, Poirot reluctantly attends a séance at a decaying, haunted palazzo. When one of the guests is murdered, the detective is thrust into a sinister world of shadows and secrets.

This third Poirot adaptation from Kenneth Branagh proves to be the most potent one of all. It stands tall above the others in many ways, but what is most apparent is how visually ambitious the film is. Branagh hits you with a sugar high of his beloved Dutch angles in this one as well as using a lot of playful lenses. What spurned him to do so this time around? Was it the paranormal infused story? Was it Italy? Shooting on digital for the first time? The house? No matter, this is a gorgeous film.

In addition to the camera work, the setting of the film only helps to add to it. Branagh plays in this giant home and makes it both lovely and creepy at the same time. He also should be commended on creating a nice sense of geography in this picture as to know and have a feel for not only the house but where the characters are in the film. There is also that feeling where you want to actually go to this house and check it out as well.

One of the fun aspect of these movies in the “set up and knock em down” murder mysteries is its cast. And A Haunting In Venice is a nice spin the wheel of well knowns and under utilized performers. Kelly Reilly is quite a stunner here in her appearance and performance. Branagh has captured her as she never has before. Jamie Dornan also continues to be paving a nice path for himself with great work in his post-Gray career. Michelle Yeoh, Tina Fey and other color and round out this cast which gels with each other and in their own little moments throughout the film.

If A Haunting In Venice is to be our last go around with this iteration of Hercule Poirot, then Branagh has gone out on an absolute high. His third film, and may trilogy capper, is super stylistic, fun and has the right amount of spooky in it. It feels like he’s found an interesting way of telling the secluded place murder mystery story and went all in. Should you only ever check out one of these movies, then this would be the one to see and no pre-requisites required.


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are from promotional images supplied by the studio, not the Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Unfortunately, the best looking of the Kenneth Branagh Poirot films only arrives on standard Blu-ray and not 4K. Still, this one hits the highest of marks for the older format and its probably the best it could go. The photography holds up quite well and the transfer handles the dark movie with seeming ease. There are loads of great detail showcased in this crisp, sharp image.

Depth:  Depth of field is quite strong here and really is able to reflect the lenses used in the film in good, three dimensional fashion. Movements are smooth and natural with no issues of motion distortion.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and rich, proving quite impressive for a 1080p presentation. Shadows and the shade of night look lovely and are able to contrast to bolster color and also maintain strong details in darker areas. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty bold and strong with the grays and silvers of the home looking quite well. Fabrics pop pretty well with your greens, reds and yellows coming on stronger.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. Facial features and textures are strong in any reasonable distance in the frame.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean


Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: The 7.1 track for A Haunting in Venice is a very active an playful one. Balance is strong here and the volume levels prove playful for good effect to add to the engagement. Its well layered and the depth really stretches and breathes around the room.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer is here to add to music stings as well as accentuate a lot of the effects with doors slamming, things crash, impaling and more.

Surround Sound Presentation:

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


A Haunting In Venice comes with a redeemable digital code.

Murder, Death and Haunting (HD, 26:08) – Cast and crew take us through the production of the film with some pretty solid substance to it.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 8:14)


The latest Hercule Poirot whodunit, A Haunting in Venice, is the best of the bunch by a country mile. Unfortunately, its only being released on standard Blu-ray at this time. However, it is a top notch presentation for the format and the extras make for a decent package. A nice pickup at the right sale price.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com). He is also the Moderator/MC of the Live Podcast Stage and on the Podcast Awards Committee for PopCon (popcon.us). In the past 10 years at Why So Blu, Brandon has amassed over 1,500 reviews of 4K, Blu-ray and DVD titles.

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