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April 18, 2024

Trailer for 'Trap' seems to give away one of M. Night Shyamalan's signature twists

The psychological thriller, which stars Josh Hartnett and Saleka Shyamalan, premieres Aug. 9.

Movies M. Night Shyamalan
m. night shyamalan trap Warner Bros. Pictures/Youtube

In the trailer for M. Night Shyamalan's upcoming film 'Trap,' Josh Hartnett appears to play a serial killer trying to evade capture while at a concert with his daughter.

Penn Valley filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan is known for shocking audiences with his twisty thrillers. When it comes to his next film, "Trap," Shyamalan has already revealed a major surprise upfront.

The psychological thriller, which premieres in theaters on Aug. 9, follows a father and daughter attending a pop star's concert together, where strange events begin to unfold. The trailer for "Trap" debuted Thursday, revealing that the dad, played by Josh Hartnett ("Oppenheimer"), may be hiding some sinister secrets.

MORE: 'The Watchers' trailer gives first glimpse of Ishana Shyamalan's directorial debut

The trailer begins on a light note, as Hartnett's character and his tween daughter excitedly enter the arena for the concert. Behind them, a road sign appears to read "Philadelphia" — Shyamalan is famous for setting or filming his projects in the Philly region.

As they head to their seats on the floor of the venue, Hartnett's daughter thanks her dad for bringing her to the concert.

"This is literally the best day of my life," she exclaims. 

The lights go down and Lady Raven begins performing to her droves of screaming fans. The pop star is played by Shyamalan's daughter, Saleka, who also wrote and performed original songs for the film.

Hartnett seems jovial enough at first, making dad jokes and snapping selfies with his daughter. Soon after Lady Raven begins performing, he excuses himself to go to the bathroom, leaving his daughter alone in her seat.

As he wanders the venue, he clocks an increased security presence and asks an employee what gives.

"You know the Butcher? That freaking nut job that goes around just chopping people up? Well the feds heard that he's gonna be here today, so they set up a trap for him," the worker says. "This whole concert, it's a trap."

Up to this point, Hartnett appears to be the protagonist and viewers are probably wondering in suspense what would happen to his daughter while he stepped away. But here comes a Shyamalan-esque kicker: It's revealed through video footage on his cellphone that Hartnett is keeping someone hostage in a basement.  There are also flashes of him picking up a large knife, staring menacingly into the camera and laughing maniacally. He may just be that Butcher that the authorities are looking for.

While it is surprising to find out the protagonist is actually more of an anti-hero, surely "Trap" has a few more twists and turns up its sleeves. Shyamalan told TheWrap that revealing Hartnett is a serial killer in the trailer may make it a more entertaining viewing experience for audiences.

“You can’t hide it. It happens so early,” Shyamalan said of Hartnett's reveal. “This is the fun of the movie. It’s being in that point-of-view.” 

"Trap" marks the start of Shyamalan's directing and producing agreement with Warner Bros Pictures Group, and his departure from Universal. Under the agreement, Shyamalan and his Philly-based production company Blinding Edge Pictures will develop original projects for the filmmaker to produce and/or direct for Warner Bros Pictures and New Line Cinema.

Last year, Shyamalan referred to "Trap" as "unusual and very new compared to what I've been trying to do (recently)."  In an Instagram post Thursday about the trailer, he asked whether fans were "ready for a new experience." Shyamalan's most recent film, "Knock at the Cabin," which premiered in February 2023, followed the ordeal of a family vacationing in a remote cabin who was taken hostage by a group of strangers and forced to choose someone to sacrifice. That movie was filmed largely in South Jersey's Pine Barrens.

Another of Shyamalan's daughters, Ishana, will soon make her own directorial debut with the film "The Watchers," which premieres June 7. The supernatural thriller centers on an eerie forest in Ireland where a group of strangers are being watched by mysterious creatures from the woods.

Watch the trailer for "Trap" below:

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