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“A Haunting in Venice” promises to combine elements of drama, mystery, and even horror in hopes of courting a broad audience this September.

A Haunting in Venice

The current popularity of the horror genre means that horror is big business, with films like Insidious: The Red Door raking it in at the box office (the film has grossed nearly $200 million against a $16 million budget, making it the highest-grossing horror movie of 2023).

It also means many new scary movies are heading our way for the rest of the year, and that’s on top of the banner year we’ve already had, with such great theatrical genre fare as Talk to Me, Evil Dead Rise, Scream VI, The Blackening, and Cobweb.

In addition to traditional horror films, we’re also starting to see a lot more genre-adjacent movies which deliver toned-down frights but still honor the spirit of what we love about horror. For example, the upcoming A Haunting in Venice may not be entirely a horror film, but it promises to turn an Agatha Christie mystery into a potentially dark supernatural thriller.

We love to see other genres embrace horror elements and hope this is a trend that continues — from family-friendly Disney films like Haunted Mansion to action-adventure films like Meg 2 to the upcoming sci-fi romance Poor Things from Yorgos Lanthimos (Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Lobster). Described as a surreal science fantasy, it’s a Frankenstein-style plot where a woman named Bella is brought back to life and sets off to discover the world. Starring Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, and Mark Ruffalo, the R rating it has been awarded suggests a dark and potentially scary look at a familiar type of story.

The Trend for Adding Horror Elements

When we look at the upcoming horror movies listed by Games Radar, there’s a lot of variety — and a lot to be very excited about. From the return of old favorites, including the hotly anticipated Saw X and Pet Semetary: Bloodlines, as well as The Nun 2 and The Exorcist: Believer. We’re also getting a Five Nights at Freddy’s movie, a remake of The Strangers, and Eli Roth’s return to horror with Thanksgiving.

With horror films consistently exceeding profit expectations, typically against a much smaller production budget — several horror films this year have exceeded the $100 million mark at the box office — expect to see more genre films with mainstream appeal and more filmmakers courting horror fans. While we should continue to get amazing niche and indie horror from studios like A24 (Talk to Me) and Neon (It Lives Inside), we’ll see more and more genre films designed to bring in big profits at the theater, like 2022’s The Black Phone.

It’s why we’re seeing so many beloved franchises and horror properties release sequels, prequels, reboots, and remakes. And it’s why horror has begun to seep into other genres, like dramas and mystery thrillers. Examples include the recent White Noise, Bones & All, and Missing. Check out our column Non-Horror for Horror Fans for more great examples.

But the influence of horror’s popularity can be seen beyond just movies.

The growing influence of horror in areas such as online slots is due to technological advances allowing developers to add diverse themes to expand their appeal. This is quite a departure from more traditional slots, such as the five-reel Action Bank slot that places much less focus on characters and storyline in favor of classic, solid gameplay. Good examples of a horror-themed slot can be seen with Blood Suckers and Arhkam Fear, where the developers have added creepy graphics and music for more atmosphere without losing the traditional gameplay.

A Closer Look at A Haunting in Venice

Directed by Kenneth Branagh and based on Agatha Christie’s 1969 Hallowe’en Party novel, A Haunting in Venice is officially the sequel to 2022’s Death on the Nile.

Branagh again plays Hercule Poirot, who is now retired and starts to investigate the murder of a guest at a séance that he attended. It’s one of Christie’s lesser-known stories, meaning the plot may be new to many viewers.

Branagh describes it as being a “supernatural thriller,” and with its release in the U.S. planned for September 15, we’ll need to wait to see how far it ventures into the realm of horror. The first trailer suggests that there will be some creepy moments that make us jump out of our seats, particularly during the séance sequences.

Apart from Branagh, the star-studded cast includes Kyle Allen as Maxime Gerard, Camile Cottin as Olga Seminoff, and Academy Award-winning actress Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once) as Joyce Reynolds.

This new Poirot film may continue a wonderful trend of seeing more overt horror elements creep into places we wouldn’t normally expect, like non-genre films and other media, and that’s a trend we hope continues for quite some time. 

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