DARKER evenings and trees tinged with orange. Autumn truly has taken hold. As for Britain’s cinemas, the coming of October means just one thing. Things are about to get spooky on the big screen.

Sure enough, the season of the witch launches soft this week with the arrival of The Addams Family 2. Click, click.

This is the sequel to 2019’s whimper of a reboot for the beloved creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky creations of cartoonist Charles Addams. Once again, the film comes directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon. Replacing Matt Lieberman, a round table of writers do their best but, once again, fall far short of the mark.

As with all second rate sequels - see also Hotel Transylvania and a dozen others - The Addams Family 2 finds its motley crew embarking on a make or break holiday. In this case, when a school science fair goes awry, Gomez Addams (Oscar Isaac) frets that his, already dysfunctional, family might be drifting apart. Things only get worse when a lawyer turns up and drops a potential bombshell, regarding the origins of Wednesday Addams (Chloë Grace Moretz).

An uninspiring road trip ensues, with call ins at Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon and Sleepy Hollow. Those who complained that the first film lacked plotting - and bored because of it - will find the sophomore over stuffed by comparison. And yet, it’s no less bland. If anything, the loudness deafens all that makes its characters tick. Like they’re boxed up, repurposed and repackaged into a more conventional family affair.

That the film barely clocks in at 90 minutes - relying on a ten minute musical finale, courtesy of Snoop Dogg’s Cousin Itt - says it all. There are flourishes here. Charlize Theron is dream casting as Morticia Addams and there’s more heart this time around. And yet, neither is enough.

The result makes you yearn for something ickier, for a braver and darker film, with sharper edges and a forkier tongue. The sort of film that Laika might have knocked out or Tim Burton in his golden years. Burton will, incidentally, soon present his own take on The Addams Family, via a live action series for Netflix. Catherine Zeta Jones is set to star as Morticia, with Luis Guizmán as Gomez. It could be just what the franchise ordered. Cos this ain’t.