Why We’re Excited for M. Night Shyamalan’s Trap

There has to be a trap within a trap in Trap - right?


In 2010, M, Night Shyamalan hit a career low point with The Last Airbender. The elemental aspects of the original series fell flat in the live-action film – the world didn’t feel credible, so the actors looked like they were playacting instead of properly embodying these characters. The movie needed to cram 20 episodes of worldbuilding and characterisation into a 1 hour 43 minute-long feature, which is basically impossible, so it was always going to feel lackluster in comparison. He followed this with After Earth in 2013 – which was a critical flop – and The Visit in 2015.

The Visit wasn’t exactly Shyamalan at his peak, but it brought him back into favour with audiences once more. Split was a return to form, and then Glass failed to maintain that momentum. Everyone was excited for Old since the premise was interesting, but then the execution kind of dropped the ball. I personally enjoyed Knock at the Cabin, but many felt the movie wasn’t exactly the heights Shyamalan was capable of.

So why am I excited for Trap, when Shyamalan’s directorial batting history hasn’t exactly been consistent? Maybe it’s because he’s had the dizzy heights of churning out movies like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs one after the other. And even when the movies were more middle of the road, they were still thought-provoking and touched on themes like faith, morality and the importance of human connection. In the age of reboots and remakes, it’s great to see M. Night Shyamalan bring something new and different to the table.

In Shyamalan’s Trap, which is set to release in August, Josh Hartnett plays a dedicated father who’s brought his daughter for a concert (did Shyamalan cook this up because of the Eras Tour?). While he’s headed to the bathroom, he notices there’s quite a bit of police attention at this concert. Why? Apparently, this entire concert is a trap for a serial killer they call the butcher. The police found out that the killer would be at the concert tonight – the how isn’t quite established in the trailer – and have laid a trap for him. In the toilet, we see Hartnett’s character check out security footage on his phone, and there’s a man tied to a chair screaming his head off.

While it may seem that the entire film’s premise has been revealed with the release of the trailer, it’s actually an ingenious way to hook audiences. Now that we know the premise, we’re thinking through all the possible ways this can play out. Is Josh Hartnett’s character the serial killer or is he protecting someone else? Is there maybe another serial killer at this concert and they have some kind of showdown? The one thought on most our minds – what exactly is the M. Night twist in this movie? Shyamalan is known for these big twists in his movies, and while he’s been moving away slightly from this, the possibility of knowing how it all plays out is going to bring moviegoers to the cinema.

Hartnett has been back on our screens since the latest season of Black Mirror. In that episode, he plays a man who goes mad with grief, which leads him to do unimaginable things. So while many are used to Hartnett playing the heartthrob, he’s actually capable of these darker roles. I can’t wait to see what he does with this role, especially since Shyamalan’s films give actors the space to show their range – think James McAvoy in Split and Bruce Willis in the Unbreakable films.

Trap may not end up being one of Shyamalan’s best, but it’s still something to look forward to.

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