By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this week comes to video on demand services. For only the second time since it’s 1983 publication, a film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches is ready to chill viewers in search of a Halloween romp.

Beloved the world over, Dahl’s classic novel enjoyed a near-perfect transition to the big screen when Don’t Look Now director Nicolas Roeg tackled the text in 1990.

This is the tale of one boy - not to mention his Norwegian Grandma - and his mission to bring down the child-hating societies of witches that plot and curse across the world. In Roeg’s film, Angelica Huston made for a deliciously venomous Grand High Witch and was well supported by inventive effects. And yet, the whole thing collapsed at the close with what might kindly be called a cop out of a conclusion. For his part, Dahl deemed the finale ‘utterly appalling’.

Cinema’s second stab at the story - 2020’s The Witches was originally due for a multiplex release - is no more promising from a purist’s perspective but has plenty to offer. Robert Zemeckis’ is the film’s director and works with a script from Kenya Barrie and Oscar-winning maestro Guillermo Del Toro. There’s music courtesy of Back to the Future composer Alan Silvestri and Zemeckis’ boasts Alfonso Cuarón among his producers.

The cast before the camera are just as promising. Newcomer Jahzir Kadeem Bruno leads the film as orphaned Charlie, with Octavia Spencer a dime as his Grandmother. Stanley Tucci and Morgana Robinson feature in smaller roles, with voice only parts for comic Chris Rock and Kristen Chenoweth. Rising head and heels above them all, Anne Hathaway does well to follow the dominating Huston as the Grand High Witch. Few could so well play the transition from truly charming to entirely terrifying as she.

Though promises of a more faithful adaptation were made when The Witches was first announced, a shift in setting - from coastal England to Alabama, Georgia - may raise a few eyebrows.

Zemeckis has embraced the horror of The Witches may prove too unsettling for younger audiences. For the brave of heart, however, The Witches could well be appointment viewing for years to come.