zondag 10 december 2023

A Haunting in Venice

 After Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, it is time for the thrid instalment of the Kenneth Brannagh series of Hercule Poirot movies.

So as soon as it came on Disney+, Noshi and me sat down for another evening of suspense and murder mystery.

Now, contrary to the earlier two movies in the series, this one is loosely based on a novel NOT by the same name, Hallowe'en Party, from 1969.

Shortly after the second world war, Poirot is retired and living in Venice, employing ex police officer Portfoglio as his bodyguard for all the people that want him to solve cases.  On halloween evening, an old acquintance, mystery writer Ariadne Oliver, comes to visit and convinces him to join a Halloween party with a sceance at the palazzo of famed opera singer Rowena Drake.  She wants him to expose the medium, former world war I nurse Joyce Reynolds, as a fraud.  

But the palazzo is claimed to be haunted, as in it's former use as an orphanage, many children where locked in it during the plague and left to die, and their spirits torment any doctor or nurse that dares to enter.  Amongst the guests are doctor Leslie Ferrier and his son Leopold, Joyce's romani assistant Desdemona, chef Maxime Gerard who is the ex-fiancee of miss Drake and her housekeeper Olga.  And then there is the tale of miss Drake's daughter Alicia, who seemingly commited suicide after her engagement with Maxime broke off.

During the sceance, Poirot deducts that Joyce actually has two assistants, with Desdemona's half-brother Nicholas hiding in the chimney, but then Joyce suddenly speaks in Alicia's voice and reveals one of the guests actually murdered her.  When an unknown assailant tries to drown Poirot during a game of apple-bobbing, Joyce is found impaled on a statue in the courtyard.

During a storm which cuts off the palazzo from the outside world, Poirot makes some discoveries amongst the guests, tying them together in various ways.  When the guests come across an underground hidden cellar, containing the skeletal remains of children and proving the tales of the orphange where sadly true, Leslie suffers a panic attack nearly killing Maxime.  He is locked inside the music room to recover, with Poirot getting possession of the sole key.  Poirot figures out Maxime is there because Ariadne actually invited him, and conspirated with Portfoglio in the hopes of Poirot being unable to solve a supernatural murder case as the plot for her next book, but Leslie is found stabbed to death at that moment.

Gathering everyone together, he exposes Rowena is the actual murderer of her daughter.  Obsessed with keeping her for herself and preventing the marriage, she slowly poisoned her using hallucinating honey.  One night, when Alicia was ill, Olga unknowingly gave her to much of a dose and having Rowena make it look as suicide.  When Rowena received blackmail letters, she suspected either Leslie or Joyce, killing both of them during the night in the hope of passing it off as the children's curse.  Poirot confronts her at the roof of the palazzo, where the ghost of Alicia seems to appear before the both of them, pulling Rowena into the canals, drowning her.

Poirot later confronts the true blackmailer, the young Leopold, who tells him how he figured it all out where his dad missed some clues.  His faith restored, Poirot returns home and starts accepting cases again.

So this was a really good movie to be honest, with that feel of impending doom and ghosts lingering over the whole Halloween night, and the mystery if Poirot might have met his match in getting the case solved.  Truly worth a watch and I hope Brannagh makes more Poirot movies, he really takes my liking as our perhaps most famous inhabitant of this little country.

Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie posten