Trap: M. Night Shyamalan thriller earns a PG-13 rating

Trap, a serial killer thriller directed by M. Night Shyamalan, has earned a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association ratings board

Trap Horror Preview

At the start of 2023, filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan secured a multi-year deal with Warner Bros., and soon after that deal was made, we heard that his first movie for Warner Bros. would be Trap, a “psychological thriller set at a concert”. That project made its way through production toward the end of last year, with lead roles going to Josh Hartnett, fresh off his appearance in Oppenheimer, and Shyamalan’s daughter Saleka. The film is now set to receive an international release on July 31st, with its domestic release to follow on August 2nd – and with those dates right around the corner, the Motion Picture Association ratings board has revealed the rating for the film. While Shyamalan describes the film as “What if The Silence of the Lambs happened at a Taylor Swift concert?”, we now know that the movie won’t be quite as hard-edged as The Silence of the Lambs was, because the MPA has decided that it earns a PG-13 rating with for some violent content and brief strong language.

Trap has a short and simple synopsis: A father and teen daughter attend a pop concert, where they realize they’re at the center of a dark and sinister event.

For a better description, we turn to what JoBlo’s own Chris Bumbray said about the first Trap trailer after seeing an early screening of it at CinemaCon, “Saleka plays a Taylor Swift-style pop star known as Lady Raven, with Josh Harnett’s character attending alongside his daughter. He quickly discovers that the concert is a trap designed to lure a serial killer known as The Butcher, but it turns out that Harnett is the serial killer!” We had previously heard (via FilmUpdates) that Saleka – who is an R&B singer/songwriter – plays “a popstar whose concert is at the heart of the story.” Hartnett’s character is “a father who takes his child to a concert, and unwittingly gets caught up in the surrounding events.” Saleka has recorded songs for her father’s previous projects Old and Servant, but this marks her acting debut.

Hartnett has said that Trap is “very bizarre, very dark, and wild.” But apparently not so dark and wild that it strays into R rating territory.

It’s not exactly shocking to see that Trap is rated PG-13, as that’s the rating most Shyamalan movies have received. He has only made two R rated movies: The Happening and Knock at the Cabin. Still, any time there’s a serial killer involved in the story, we kind of hope it will result in an R rating.

Since Shyamalan produces and finances his own movies, he was able to get a SAG interim agreement for Trap (which filmed under the codename Good Grades) that allowed the project to go into production before the Screen Actors Guild strike wrapped up. His daughter Ishana was also able to get a SAG Interim deal for her feature directorial debut, the gothic fairy tale The Watchers. That film was set up at Warner Bros. as well, and was released last month.

Here’s what Shyamalan had to say about Trap in an interview he did with NME a while back: “I have a new idea that I’ve started writing. It’s out in 2024 and it’s very, very exciting. It’s a thriller. It’s very unusual and very new compared to what I’ve been trying to do [recently], but I’m feeling very excited about the story, so much so that I can’t wait to tell it to you guys. I love that feeling, that electricity of ‘wow, I can’t wait for you to see it’. I will say this, the angle into the story is why it’s so exciting. The story might be something that you’ve seen before but the angle is very, very unique – the point of view.

What do you think of Trap being rated PG-13? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Source: Film Ratings

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.