Hercule Poirot, the world’s greatest and most particular detective, returns in Kenneth Branagh’s third outing as director and star. A Haunting in Venice is set in 1947, 10 years after Poirot solved the case in Death on the Nile (2022).

It is, apparently, inspired by Agatha Christie’s 1969 novel Hallowe’en Party. Here, however, the English countryside is replaced with the labyrinthine waterways of Venice and the story, while maintaining some similarities, is wildly different.

Michelle Yeoh and Kenneth Branagh in A Haunting in Venice

Poirot (Branagh) has retired for a quiet life, where the only guests he will see are delivering pastries. Of course, he won’t stay retired for long. His old friend the mystery writer Ariadne Oliver (Tina Fey) asks Poirot to debunk a psychic medium, Joyce Reynolds (Michelle Yeoh), whose powers seem too good to be true.

Reynolds leads Poirot to a Halloween party in a decaying and haunted palazzo, which provides the perfect backdrop for a spooky, jump-filled series of incidents. The party is just the starter, and the real event is a seance that is attended by a cast of intriguing characters.

The faded palazzo belongs to the glamorous...