• Trap
    hooks viewers with a tension-filled premise of a father and daughter caught in a twisted trap at a pop concert.
  • Shyamalan’s film hints at surprises beyond what’s revealed in the trailer, leaving audiences curious and intrigued.
  • The movie delves into Shyamalan’s personal fears and experiences as a father, shaping the father-daughter dynamics onscreen.



Upcoming mystery-thriller Trap has captured audiences’ imagination based on its premise alone, which follows a father (Josh Hartnett) who takes his daughter (Ariel Donoghue) to a Lady Raven (Saleka Shyalaman) concert for a night of parent-child bonding. Of course, being a film by the venerated M. Night Shyamalan, it’s no surprise to learn that the concert is actually a trap to arrest a serial killer — and the killer in question is none other than Hartnett himself.

Shyamalan is widely regarded for his iconic twists, but the Trap trailer gives so much a way that it leaves one wondering what else he is hiding. In addition to Hartnett, Donoghue, and Shyamalan’s daughter Saleka, the movie also stars Hayley Mills, Marnie McPhail, Vanessa Smythe, and Malik Jubal. Trap is set for release on August 9, and questions are sure to be flying in about the potential surprises Shyamalan has in store for the apparent “bottle episode” narrative.


Every Character M. Night Shyamalan Played In His Own Movies

Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan has played characters in 11 of his movies, ranging from starring roles to the smallest of cameos.

While attending the Summer of Shyamalan event hosted by Warner Bros., Screen Rant interviewed M. Night Shyamalan himself about bringing Trap to the screen. The prolific director shared how the father and daughter duo at the heart of the movie reflects his own anxieties about parenthood and touched on how working on Servant for several years has changed his approach to directing.

Trap Further Explores Shyamalan’s Affinity For Father-Daughter Dynamics

While M. Night has worked with his daughter Ishana in her capacity as director (and her feature film debut The Watchers will also be arriving in 2024), Trap is his first time collaborating with his other daughter Saleka beyond incorporating her art into his work. Josh Hartnett and Ariel Donoghue’s onscreen father-daughter dynamic is at the heart of the movie, but there are echoes of Shyamalan’s real-life bond with his own children.

M. Night Shyamalan: Obviously, the father-daughter thing is just part of who I am. I’m a girl dad with three girls, and it’s just the way I see things. I see the world through their eyes. My fear of the world is for them; protecting them or overprotecting them, and then wanting them to look up to me and be proud of the things that I say and do. When I don’t do well, or I don’t do something right, I feel bad. Trap is all those fears and things like that onscreen.

But with both [Saleka and Ishana], we have such a great relationship, especially when it comes to everything with art. You’d think that would be tricky, [but] I genuinely believe that I need to support them in the thing they’re trying to make. Not jam them with my idea for it, necessarily. And in fact, when I pitch something, the right idea for me might undermine the whole thing. I’ve got to be really careful and always ask, “What are you trying to do? Where are you coming from? I want to look from your point of view.”

How Servant Helped Shape M. Night Shyamalan’s Approach To Trap

Shyamalan recently came off the success of the Apple TV+ series Servant, which ended after 4 seasons and became his longest project. While he rose to prominence as a filmmaker back in 1999 with The Sixth Sense, his style has continued to evolve over the decades. When asked if Servant had any additional effect on his approach to telling Trap‘s story, he found himself surprised to agree.

M. Night Shyamalan: First of all, I learned from all the other filmmakers. We had so many filmmakers, including [my daughter] Ishana, who directed 6 of the episodes out of 40, while I only directed 5. I was learning how they each do something different, and that each of us have different muscles, so we shouldn’t copy each other. We’re strong in different ways, and it was lovely to learn from each of them what they’re great at and go, “Whoa.” There was a husband and wife team that directed it who are always thinking in movement, and it’s like, “Wow, your brains work like that.” It was lovely to learn that.

Besides learning from each of their strengths, I learned about curating for them. Because at the end of the day, I would finish the episodes, and that’s what television is. What I did each time was bring out who they were in it, and it was so lovely to be them and bring it out.

Working in 30-minute sequences was such a beautiful training ground too. a movie has four of them. How can you make four beautiful sequences? Can we do one that’s just the entire movie? When you see Trap, you see the direct influence of that. It’s funny that, as we’re talking about it, I can now see it. I was just saying that I don’t know why the writing of Trap was so different, and it might’ve been because of Servant. It’s one sequence, and that was probably from [TV experience].

About Trap

Josh Hartnett surveying a concert full of people filming on phones in Trap

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a new experience in the world of M. Night Shyamalan — “Trap” — featuring performances by rising music star Saleka Shyamalan. A father and teen daughter attend a pop concert, where they realize they’re at the center of a dark and sinister event.


arrives in theaters on August 9.

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