A Haunting in Venice Composer Hildur Guðnadóttir Details How Genre Impacts Her Creative Process (Exclusive)

"I'm someone who was raised on the genre," Guðnadóttir says.

Suspense-based films are nothing without a good score. While dialogue, shot selection and the actors' execution carries the bulk of a thriller's weight, tension is taken to the next level when a composer creates a chill-inducing underlying sound. While all feature films necessitate a score, two genres that rely on it more than most are murder mysteries and horror movies. With A Haunting in Venice being a combination of those two styles, all ears were on composer Hildur Guðnadóttir (Joker) to ensure that the Kenneth Branagh-directed suspense was successfully dialed up to an eleven.

Hildur Guðnadóttir On Composing Suspense-Based Scores

(Photo: Kevin Winter / Staff)

Speaking to Comicbook.com, A Haunting in Venice composer Hildur Guðnadóttir noted that this film's genre, alongside her personal connection to the source material, directly affected her creative approach.

"Yes, it does actually, because I'm someone who was raised on the genre," Guðnadóttir said. "Everyone in my family is a huge Agatha Christie fan and we're all raised on thrillers and detective novels. I think when you're used to reading these books, you set your own tempo and you set your pacing and that the scenario yourself. I have a very specific idea of what I think the genre should sound like.

"I was very excited to get to do one myself in my pacing and with my vision. It was just fun to see if that worked out or not. If my instincts were working into the genre. It was really fun to work into a genre that you've literally grown up with."

While this is the third installment in Kenneth Branagh's Hercule Poirot franchise, A Haunting in Venice represents Guðnadóttir's first time composing for an Agatha Christie-based film. Previous installments Murder on the Orient Express (2017) and Death on the Nile (2022) were composed by Patrick Doyle.

"I actually didn't speak to him at all. It would've been great to catch up with him," Guðnadóttir said regarding taking on the franchise's score from Doyle. "The films are quite different from each other, specifically this film I think is very different from the other two films. Ken was really clear that he wanted the film to be a lot different musically. He wanted it to be much darker and more atonal and smaller in scope. He wanted it to be more like a chamber piece than a sweeping orchestra movement."

A Haunting in Venice hits theaters this Friday, September 15th.