Murder Party. M, 103 minutes. 3 stars The poster for this subtitled French film is highly reminiscent of that for Knives Out. Are the Gallic filmmakers paying homage or is it just a cheeky wink? Either way, it's apt, for both are fun murder mysteries done with a fairly light touch, though Murder Party is more comedic. Stressed-out, Xanax-popping architect Jeanne (Alice Pol) is competing for a rich contract to renovate the mansion of board-game mogul César Daguerre (Eddy Mitchell). He doesn't want to see plans, but a scale model, so she takes a bus to the estate. On arrival she is picked up by César's son, Theo (Pablo Pauly), who tries to pick her up in another way, though she politely resists his attentions. When she encounters the rest of the Daguerres, they're an eccentric lot, all involved in the family business in one way or another and talking about having a "murder party". And there's the longtime butler Armand (Gustave Kervern), de rigueur for this kind of story. Unfortunately for Jeanne, César doesn't seem impressed by her work. But she doesn't have time to dwell on this long. There's no party, but there is a murder: César is soon found dead and a recorded voice says the murderer is among them. The group is locked in the estate and issued a set of challenges: failure or refusal to compete means death. So begins a series of accusations, recriminations, revelations and investigations as everyone suspects everyone else, skeletons fall out of closets and people try to find the clues and solve the mysteries while also staying alive. Jeanne, the outsider, seems to be the most level-headed of any of them, intensely focused on working things out. She's less distracted than the others - even when she begins to find Theo more attractive than she did initially, and even when some unexpected information arises that she might be closer to the Daguerres than she thought. The actors are all good, with Pol a sympathetic heroine and the Daguerres played almost as caricatures, but not quite. Among them are César's wife Josephine (Miou-Miou), who soon becomes a widow, and Salomé (Pascale Arbillot), the mentally unstable daughter. There are what appear to be other nods to mysteries and thrillers - a little boy named Hercule (after Agatha Christie's Poirot, naturellement), a score with a repeating motif that brings to mind Bernard Herrmann's music for Cape Fear (1962). Especially notable in Murder Party are the vivid colours in the costume design, the elaborate sets and the occasional cute visual touches by co-writer/director Nicolas Pleskof. There's almost a touch of Wes Anderson here in some of the shots (though this isn't like Anderson's quirky works in other respects). The pace sags a little in the middle, and there are, as often in this kind of movie, a few "Hmmm" moments that invite questions - notably, why does Jeanne get to wander around the place alone? - though things become clearer by the film's conclusion (some of which I guessed before it came). It's possible some things get slightly lost in translation when watching a foreign-language film - not just the dialogue but in national attitudes and conventions that don't travel perfectly. If you're a fan of this kind of murder mystery - not too grim, with a solution finally given - then Murder Party is worth seeing.