A BREAKOUT hit two years ago - perhaps even the biggest of 2017 - ‘It’ scooped up the mainstream market for horror like ice cream on a hot day. Within three months, the Andy Muschietti film, adapted from Stephen King’s eponymous bestselling book, had taken down The Exorcist as the highest grossing horror film of all time. Now, floating in under a storm of red balloons, comes the long awaited sequel. Chapter Two is here to put you right back under the bed.

Set 27 years on from its predecessor, It: Chapter Two opens with the Losers Club spread across America, living lives far removed from their hedonistic, bicycle based childhoods. When Pennywise the clown resurfaces in their home town, however, the old friends must reunite to defeat it once and for all.

It was a wise move by Muschietti and company to divide King’s epic novel - of over 1300 pages - into two. Whether this second entry lives up to the high bar of its predecessor remains to be debated but fan expectations are sky high.

Whilst the original youngsters do return for flashbacks in Chapter Two, it’s their elder counterparts around whom the film revolves. Jaeden Martell’s young Bill becomes James McAvoy’s scarred adult, with Sophia Lillis’ Bev now Jessica Chastain. Jay Ryan, Bill Hader, Andy Bean, Isaiah Mustafa and James Ranson, meanwhile, take over the roles formerly played by Jeremy Ray Taylor, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs and Jack Dylan Grazer.

Behind the scenes, things remain pleasingly constant. Muschietti returns to direct, with Gary Dauberman once more on script writing duties, this time joined by Chase Palmer and Cary Fukunaga, who will next year bring to cinemas the latest Bond film: No Time to Die. Music is again provided by Benjamin Wallfisch, with Jason Ballantine editing.

At 170 minutes, Chapter Two is significantly longer than the first and perhaps outstays its welcome. The charm that gave Chapter One’s scares their bucolic counter-lift is, understandably, lost in the transition to adulthood, as is the structural surety. That said, a stellar cast take things a long way, with Bill Hader giving Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise a surprising run for his money in terms of scene stealing.

Ultimately, Muschietti concludes his groundbreaking opener with every bit the epic quality fans could have hoped for. If nothing else, It: Chapter Two can’t be faulted for ambition.