John Wyndham‘s 1951 post-apocalyptic sci-fi-horror novel “The Day Of The Triffids” is a renowned classic. The story follows a scientist who has been working with lucrative plants called triffids — tall plants with the deadly combination of intelligence and fatal aggression (which he believes have been bioengineered in Soviet Russia). After a meteor shower hits Earth and renders anyone who watched it blind, civilization begins to collapse and with much of the population left defenseless, the triffids begin to attack.
It’s one of the scariest stories you can imagine, it’s “War of the Worlds” meets “Lord of the Flies,” only with giant plants who sting their prey and then feed on the rotting carcass. The only problem is, it can look kind of stupid on the big screen. There’s reading about a killer plant, and then there’s seeing a killer plant – and unsurprisingly a killer plant can look kind of ridiculous. The most famous adaption was probably the largely unfaithful 1963 film, but the BBC have also produced a couple of mini-series. This writer saw the latest of those BBC productions in 2009 which starred Dougray Scott, Joely Richardson, Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave and Eddie Izzard, but sadly it wasn’t very good at all.
So another big-screen adaptation won’t be an easy task, and Ghost House Pictures have selected Neil Cross to write the Sam Raimi produced picture. Cross created and writes the British detective drama “Luther” for which Idris Elba recently won a Golden Globe, and he also wrote a number of episodes for the popular BBC spy drama, “Spooks.” “Luther” is certainly an interesting show to gauge Cross by, as it’s by no means a standard genre outing. In fact it’s pretty out there and really puts it’s characters through the wringer, but in a crowd-pleasing way. Cross also penned “Mama” and “Midnight Delivery,” two Guillermo del Toro produced films currently in production and was also enlisted by the director to polish the “Pacific Rim” script.
We can see Cross having some fun with “The Day of the Triffids,” but can’t help but feel the success of the film will inevitably hang on making the visuals work. Like we said, it’s giant walking plants people, and if the visuals don’t convince then the film doesn’t convince, no matter how good the script is.