New M. Night Shyamalan Trailer ‘Trap’ Stars Josh Hartnett As Boxed-In Serial Killer & The Tension Is Palpable

Josh Hartnett
Warner Bros.

It’s been something of a return to form in recent years for writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, who broke out in a big way with The Sixth Sense and continued with a string of relative hits thereafter before hitting a wall. His incredible Sixth Sense twist established a precedent for crazy plot reversals that Shyamalan couldn’t measure up to, which isn’t a knock against him or anything. What I’m trying to say is, the simpler Shyamalan keeps things, the better his later movies have tended to be.

Cut to this excellent premise idea for Trap: A seemingly loving father takes his daughter to a massive concert for her favorite artist, only to discover that the show is a massive setup by the feds to trap a serial killer.

Turns out, dad is the killer…

Such a narrative backdrop seems tailor-made to be a taut thriller, and it could be a major vehicle for Josh Hartnett. In an interesting parallel to Shyamalan, Hartnett was out of the Hollywood spotlight and took bit of a break from acting around the same period in which the Trap filmmaker was struggling.

Hartnett has roared back recently, with an excellent turn in the Netflix sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror among the notable highlights. However, to me, among the many big names in Oppenheimer‘s ensemble cast, Hartnett stole the show from everyone. Now, Trap will mark his first major-studio lead role since…I don’t even know when. With him feeling confident to sign on to this project as his next big move, it makes me all the more optimistic that Trap is going to slap.

The end of the trailer really piqued my interest, as it seemed to be an homage to Vertigo‘s opening title sequence.

That iconic Alfred Hitchcock movie features some crazy plot twists, murder mystery intrigue, and a struggle to perceive or accept reality at the center of its plot and primary characters. Could we see Hartnett’s daughter processing the fact that her dad is a killer in real time? I think there’s a good chance the cat gets out of the bag before he can flee the concert venue, and that in and of itself has some incredible dramatic potential.

Not to mention, how is Hartnett’s killer going to escape? Will he be able to pull it off? What’s going to happen with that guy tied up in his basement?

Shyamalan will sometimes sacrifice deeper commentary for some gimmicky twists, but I hope that’s not the case here. Trap looks like a great chance to explore the concept of spectacle through the lens of social media, modern performance, and society’s mass obsession with true crime. To cite a more contemporary flick and another classic, Trap looks like it could have shades of Jordan Peele’s Nope (albeit in a far less sci-fi presentation style) and Network in giving voice to those aforementioned themes.

To me, Split was the last great movie Shyamalan made, and that was back in 2016. I have a feeling Trap will be far and away his best since then if this trailer is any indication.

We’ll have to wait till August 9 before Trap hits theaters in the U.S., but at least we’ve got The Fall Guy (May 3) and Furiosa (May 15) coming soon!

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock