Beware the plants! In recent years that ominous warning has applied to false, studio-driven positivity drummed up on the internet, but director Mike Newell plans to make it literal again with an adaptation of John Wyndham’s sci-fi oddity, "The Day of The Triffids". In the original novel (and three previously filmed versions), a space-borne meteor shower enters Earth's atmosphere, causing mass blindness in the humans, and a sentient, carnivorous hunger in the plant life.
Deadline reported Thursday that Newell will direct the film for Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert’s Ghost House Pictures, working from a script by Neil Cross (Mama, Doctor Who). He’s not the first director to be tied to the property, with fellow Harry Potter helmer David Yates interested in doing it for Warner Bros. prior to Ghost House acquiring the rights. For a short time, it was even rumored that Raimi himself might make the film, but that ship has long since sailed.
The truly memorable sequences of Steve Sekley’s 1963 version featured actress Nicole Maurey cowering in the shadows as what looked like rubbery, mutant asparagus threateningly closed in. Outside of some impressively silly monsters, that feature departed significantly from the book, which was better served by the 1981 televised adaptation which remains the creepiest and most effective.
The most recent version (featuring Dougray Scott, Brian Cox and Eddie Izzard) was done in 2009, but was instantly forgettable due to its general awfulness and complete lack of respect for Wyndham’s work. The bright spots were the special effects; despite being done on a tv budget, these were the best Triffids to date.
Without a truly great version of the source material out there now, there’s plenty of room for Newell to properly introduce the world to Wyndham’s Triffids as they were meant to be experienced. At any rate, we’ll never have to worry about any scenes where Mark Wahlberg apologizes to a plastic plant and looks embarrassed.