A Haunting in Venice – Blu-ray Review

Mark Pacis

A Haunting in Venice

When I reviewed A Haunting in Venice in September, I said it “succeeds as an engaging and visually enticing gothic murder mystery.” Watching it again, my feelings about the film haven’t changed. The movie still delivers a captivating and eerie experience that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish. Kenneth Branagh directs the film with finesse, and this supernatural thriller takes full advantage of its haunting setting.

The story itself weaves a captivating narrative of the supernatural, filled with twists and turns that keep most audiences guessing until the end. Of course, avid murder mystery audiences will quickly figure out who the killer is. However, it still doesn’t take away from the movie. Also, the characters are well-developed, and the talented ensemble delivers performances that convey fear and determination while trying to convince the audience that they aren’t the killer.

A Haunting in Venice succeeds in creating a cinematic experience that goes beyond mere scares. Not only is it the best Branagh adaptation, but it’s a visual and auditory spectacle that immerses viewers in the spooky world he put together. This film is a must-watch for fans of Agatha Christie and those seeking a thrilling ride through the mysterious streets of Venice. Brace yourself for an unforgettable journey into Venice, where every corner hides a secret.

Movie Review: /5 atoms

A Haunting in Venice - Kenneth Branagh and Tina Fey

A Haunting in Venice hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC HD presentation in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The Blu-ray release of A Haunting in Venice boasts impressive contrast levels, enhancing the film’s visual impact. The brightness levels in this Blu-ray release are vibrant, ensuring details are easily discernible even in darker or low-light settings. At the same time, A Haunting in Venice maintains solid black levels, enhancing the depth of shadows and contributing to the overall eerie atmosphere.

Whether a haunted house’s deep, chilling tones or the vibrant hues of supernatural elements, the colors are accurate and emotionally resonant. The Blu-ray release also enhances detail clarity, allowing viewers to appreciate the intricacies of the beautiful production design. So, the refined textures, subtle details in costumes, and the haunted surroundings are all rendered precisely. The film grain in A Haunting in Venice maintains a balanced approach, which, in turn, preserves the intended aesthetic without compromising overall image quality.

Video Review: 5/5 atoms

A Haunting in Venice - Kenneth Branagh

A Haunting in Venice hits Blu-ray with a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio presentation. The Blu-ray release of A Haunting in Venice emphasizes accurate object placement, allowing viewers to locate sounds precisely within the three-dimensional soundstage. Sound effects like subtle or sudden shifts in audio heighten tension and contribute to the overall eeriness. From the distant echoes in a haunted palazzo to the ethereal sounds, the mix’s atmospherics excels in delivering the ambient sounds. Not to mention, Hildur Guðnadóttir’s musical score engages in the front and surround channels and complements and enhances the film’s horror elements. 

Also, the balance between ambient sounds and dialogue is carefully maintained, allowing viewers to hear the dialogue clearly without missing important details, even amid atmospheric or intense scenes. The subwoofer channel is utilized effectively to deliver impactful low-frequency effects. Whether it’s the ominous thuds in a palazzo or the deep resonance of supernatural occurrences, the subwoofer enhances the overall depth and intensity of the audio experience.

Audio Review: 5/5 atoms

A Haunting in Venice - Michelle Yeoh
Special Features

A Haunting in Venice hits Blu-ray with the following bonus features on the disc:

  • Murder, Death, and Haunting
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Morning Routine
    • The Doge’s Palace
    • Halloween Party Extended
    • Desdemona’s Warning
    • Children’s Story
    • Poirot Needs Air
    • Guarding the Gates
    • Secret Doorway Extended
    • Ferrier’s Shouts
    • Poirot Pauses for Thought
    • Journey Home
Features Assessment

Murder, Death, and Haunting, thankfully, isn’t merely an EPK-style featurette. It’s a comprehensive making-of documentary that takes viewers through Branagh’s filmography of Christie adaptations and the various stages of Venice‘s production. Through interviews with cast and crew and footage from the set, this featurette provides informative insights into the filmmaking process and the challenges of bringing “Hallowe’en Party” to the screen. Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from here. The rest of the bonus features showcase many deleted and extended scenes. They’re decent, but it’s a shame that a featurette and deleted scenes are all we get in this release.

Special Features Review: 1.5/5 atoms

Overall, A Haunting in Venice beautifully captures the eerie beauty of Venice and transforms it into a backdrop for a supernatural murder mystery. The video and audio presentations are spectacular, but the special features are lacking.

Overall Review: 4/5 atoms

A Haunting in Venice is now available in stores on Blu-ray.

This Blu-ray was provided by 20th Century Studios Home Entertainment for review purposes.