Death on the Nile, Why Whodunits Can Never Go Out of Style

February 23, 2022

Death on the Nile, a film starring Gal Gadot and a host of other actors, Kenneth Branagh, Armie Hammer, and Letitia Wright to name a few, is already out and about. Based on a book of the same name by Agatha Christie, Death on the Nile is the sequel to Murder on the Orient Express (2017). Despite the controversy surrounding the film, which has more to do with what went on behind the scenes than the actual film itself, there’s every chance that Death on the Nile is an enjoyable movie worth watching. Why you might ask? Simply because there’s nothing that beats a well-written whodunit. 

If you want to learn a little more about this genre and its origins, look no further. We got you covered. 

How Far Back Do Whodunits Go?

The first question that might be on your mind is how far back this genre goes. It begins with the coining of a phrase. There’s a little back and forth on who exactly created the term, but Cinema Journal holds that it was conceived by Donald Gordon in 1930 upon reviewing the book Half-Mast Murder

The term ‘Whodunit’ would later be applied to movies for the first time in 1934, when the film adaptation for Arnold Ridley’s Recipe for Murder came out. After the passage of two world wars, the genre began to blossom and grow into what we know it to be today. Among the authors that rose to fame after World Wars I and II, the most famous of them was Agatha Christie. Cinema Journal notes that “she is considered a master of the genre.” If that name sounds familiar, it should, because her books are what Kenneth Branagh’s films use as adaptation material. Something which should attest to how good the film is.

Why They’ll Be With Us For A Long Time

Now onto why Whodunits won’t be leaving us anytime soon. What makes a really well-executed whodunit film special is that it can be engaging for all audiences. In an age where people like predicting things and making speculations left and right, these movies allow viewers to do that in spades. Especially in an era where properties like the MCU drive speculation through the roof with appearances alone. 

Depending on the level of complexity a given story decides to employ, as well as gore and other adult themes, they can generally reach and entertain people of multiple if not all age groups. It’s a solid genre that can get the whole family engaged through the aforementioned penchant for inspiring speculations and theories. It’s quite fun as an activity too when everyone has differing theories. Essentially, if you don’t have any party poopers or spoilers, watching whodunits have the potential to be great family pastimes.

That being said, Death on the Nile looks like a pretty solid whodunit, having a decent scoring on Rotten Tomatoes. So if you want to start a new family tradition and explore the world of whodunit, maybe consider putting Death on the Nile on your queue.