Hercule Poirot has an nearly supernatural knack for fixing murders.

That makes “A Haunting in Venice” a pure extension of the character’s old-school universe.

“Venice,” tailored from Agatha Christie’s “Hallowe’en Party,” gives a horrific twist on the style, and it’s greater than an agreeable match. Murders abound, as do issues that go bump within the evening. It’s all orchestrated with aplomb by star/director Kenneth Branagh.

Poirot’s gargantuan mustache has been downgraded, however there’s nothing small in regards to the pleasures in Branagh’s third outing because the celebrated sleuth.

Our mustachioed hero has settled into a comfortable, if lonely, retirement in Italy because the story opens. No extra homicide mysteries for him. It’s about leisure, firstly.

His tranquility will get a nudge from an outdated good friend.

Ariadne, a thriller creator performed by Tina Fey, needs her outdated pal to debunk an area mystic who holds phony seances to trick the locals.

Or so she assumes.

Might this mystic, performed with a indifferent air by Michelle Yeoh, truly maintain the important thing to the afterlife? Will Hercule discover himself drawn again to his explicit set of abilities? And what occurs when a useless physique inevitably seems?

Hercule’s arrival means somebody gained’t stay to see the ultimate credit.

We’ll share no extra however know that Branagh’s Hercule stays a deliciously droll determine not like any on screens as we speak. He’s good however self-aware, a contact conceited however with a nagging sense for the widespread man.

Ariadne has his quantity, and their banter stands out as the movie’s elegant promoting level. Michael Inexperienced’s screenplay isn’t good, however it’s clever and intelligent when the scenes demand it. That could possibly be with the Hercule-Ariadne playful bickering or the sense that this explicit thriller will take a look at even Hercule’s appreciable skills.

“Venice” may use some extra star energy. Possibly we’ve been spoiled by “Death on the Nile” and “Murder on the Orient Express,” however one other larger-than-life participant may have spiked the cinematic punch.

Jamie Dornan performs a widower making an attempt to look after his precocious son, however his morose presence weighs down among the enjoyable. Dornan’s character suffers from PTSD, as does Hercule, a subplot that does add gravitas to a nimble thriller.

You gained’t clear up the puzzle in play, and when Hercule begins placing the items collectively you’ll marvel on the script’s ingenuity.

What units “Venice” aside is the manufacturing design and cinematography. Branagh’s imaginative and prescient is so understanding, so keenly conscious of the genres he’s combining that even the quietest scenes hum with vitality.

This movie is beautiful to behold, like a haunted home the place no expense is spared to go away guests unmoored.

The brand new Hercule Poirot movies are a minor miracle in as we speak’s Hollywood. They’re neither splashy nor rushed, and so they take nice care to inform old style tales the old style means.

Lengthy could Branagh’s Hercule reign.

HiT or Miss: “A Haunting in Venice” lacks the star energy of earlier Kenneth Branagh mysteries, however it’s nonetheless a jolly good time.