A Haunting in Venice and the best murder mystery movies to watch

Here are some of the genre's most overlooked titles

From left, Tina Fey, Michelle Yeoh and Sir Kenneth Branagh in A Haunting in Venice. Photo: Disney
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A Haunting in Venice marks Sir Kenneth Branagh’s third outing as Detective Hercule Poirot.

The follow-up to last year’s Death on the Nile and 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express, which is out in UAE cinemas now, has Poirot trying to solve the murder of a guest at a seance he has attended.

In recent years, viewers have demonstrated a renewed appetite for murder mystery movies. Rian Johnson’s Knives Out and Glass Onion, which star Daniel Craig as the private detective Benoit Blanc, were both devoured by audiences. The Nice Guys, Enola Holmes, Game Night and Kimi have also drawn critical acclaim, while Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston’s Murder Mystery films have been huge hits on Netflix, too.

Along the way, some have managed to slip through the cracks, though, failing to receive the attention that their twisting and beguiling narratives deserve.

Here's a list of some you may have missed.

Confess, Fletch (2022)

Jon Hamm is charming and hilarious as the mischievous Fletch, who was previously played by Chevy Chase in two movies in the 1980s.

After he is seemingly hired to investigate a stolen art collection, Fletch becomes the number one suspect in a murder.

The only way that he can clear his name is by investigating the death himself. A perfect fit for Hamm’s laid-back persona and comedic chops Confess, Fletch becomes more compelling the longer it goes on.

The Night of the 12th (2022)

This French mystery thriller was a big winner at the Cesar Awards, known as the French Oscars, where it won six prizes. Based on Pauline Guena’s novel of the same name, The Night of the 12th follows a young police captain who becomes increasingly hooked by a grisly murder that he can’t solve.

As he digs deeper into the victim’s life, he determines they have been killed by an ex-lover. The only problem is, he can’t figure out which one. An expertly told, though disturbing, story of obsession and the devastating impact of violence.

See How They Run (2022)

A light-hearted comedy mystery with an all-star cast, See How They Run is attracting wider audiences on streaming following its Bafta nomination.

Set in the heart of the West End during 1950s London, it revolves around the murder of a pivotal member of Agatha Christie’s smash-hit play The Mousetrap, just when plans for a movie version had started to emerge.

Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan play the pair of officers tasked with figuring out who killed the film's director (Adrien Brody), with their suspects including Ruth Wilson, Reece Shearsmith, Harris Dickinson, David Oyelowo, Shirley Henderson and Sian Clifford.

The Guilty (2021)

Jake Gyllenhaal has established himself as one of the most consistent and dynamic actors of his generation. That’s still the case in The Guilty, despite the fact that he spends most of it talking over a headset as a 911 dispatcher. The film is set almost entirely in one location, too.

An American remake of the 2018 Danish film of the same name, the film tasks Gyllenhaal's character with trying to save the life of a caller who insists that she has been abducted. But as the case unravels, Gyllenhaal realises that nothing is quite as it seems. While it’s not quite as good as the original, The Guilty still manages to be a nail-biting, tense and contained story with another virtuoso Gyllenhaal performance.

Lost Girls (2020)

Based on a harrowing true story and Robert Kolker’s book Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery, Amy Ryan stars as a mother who repeatedly has to force law enforcement agents to search for her missing daughter Shanna. Thanks to her efforts, a number of unsolved murders of young sex workers across Long Island are discovered and police eventually come to the conclusion that a serial killer is on the loose.

Ryan is unflinchingly raw as a mother who will stop at nothing to find out what happened to her daughter. Director Liz Garbus and writer Michael Werwie also deserve credit for refusing to bring any kind of Hollywood shine or hope to such a gritty, hard-to-watch, but honest story.

Brick (2005)

Rian Johnson’s directional debut might be in the same genre as Knives Out and Glass Onion, but it has a much darker aesthetic and tone. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a high school student flung into saving the life of his ex-girlfriend after he receives a phone call from her begging for help.

Heavily indebted to the noir films of the 1940s and 1950s, but still very much with its own style and voice, Brick immediately established Johnson as one of the most adventurous and thrilling new filmmakers in America.

Updated: September 26, 2023, 2:08 PM