This week, Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot returns to the big screen in A Haunting in Venice. The film, based on Agatha Christie’s 1969 novel Hallowe’en Party, picks up with Branagh’s Poirot 10 years after the events of 2022’s Death on the Nile. It follows him as he’s slowly but surely drawn out of his self-imposed retirement by, at first, a séance, and then a brutal murder. As far as mysteries go, A Haunting in Venice is fairly standard, but it’s the film’s horror edge, as well as the gothic atmosphere it creates, that truly separates it from so many other movies like it.
That doesn’t, however, mean there aren’t a few movies that are capable of offering, at the very least, a similar experience. The following five mystery films should, in fact, satisfy anyone who leaves A Haunting in Venice in the mood for something in the same vein.
If you’re looking for a pure murder mystery movie, it doesn’t get any more straightforward than Clue. Based on the board game of the same name, this star-studded 1985 black comedy is a tongue-in-cheek romp that knowingly pays homage to all the archetypes and tropes that have come to define the mystery genre for many moviegoers.
As alluring as its premise and farcical tone are, though, it’s ultimately the now-iconic performances given by, among others, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Lesley Ann Warren, and Christopher Lloyd that’ll leave the biggest impression in Clue.
Clue is currently available to stream on both Amazon Prime Video and MGM+.
Much like Clue, writer-director Rian Johnson’s Knives Out is a deliciously clever murder mystery. Anchored by a southern-fried performance for the ages, which comes courtesy of Daniel Craig, the film is, like many other titles on this list, an ensemble dramedy that mines as much power from its colorful cast of characters as it does its whip-smart screenplay.
Both a loving homage to the Agatha Christie novels that inspired it and a contemporary subversion of the murder mystery genre itself, Knives Out is even sharper and more crowd-pleasing than it initially seems.
Knives Out is available to rent now on all major digital platforms.
Likely the most underrated film on this list, See How They Run is a charming, endearingly odd murder mystery. Featuring two winning lead performances from Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan as a sleepy police detective and his overeager second-in-command, the dramedy is both a lean mystery and a send-up of the London theater scene.
It was more or less ignored when it was released last year, but that only gives more viewers the chance to discover it for the first time now. While considerably lighter than A Haunting in Venice, it’s just as smartly written and consistently entertaining.
See How They Run is currently available to stream on Hulu.
Less of a straight-up, Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery than the other titles on this list, Bad Times at the El Royale is a frustratingly underseen thriller that has more in common with A Haunting in Venice than you might think. As a film about a group of disparate characters trapped in one location together, the film delivers plenty of violence and intrigue over the course of its runtime.
The fact that there’s never a question about who the film’s killers are doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain its fair share of mysteries, either. Not only is it just as suspenseful as A Haunting in Venice, but like that film, there are also moments when it veers further into the horror genre than many may see coming.
Bad Times at the El Royale is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.
Speaking of mystery thrillers with a decidedly dark, horror bent, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure is an engrossing and thoroughly unnerving detective film. Like A Haunting in Venice, the movie features a handful of genuinely shocking and confounding deaths, and it introduces a potential supernatural explanation for them that forces its protagonist to question everything he thought he knew about how the world works.
Even more terrifying and immersive than A Haunting in Venice, Cure is a must-see mystery for anyone drawn to thrillers that incorporate elements of both fantasy and horror.
Cure is currently available to stream on the Criterion Channel.
A Haunting in Venice is now playing in theaters.
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