Trap: M. Night Shyamalan describes his new thriller as The Silence of the Lambs at a Taylor Swift concert

Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan pitches his new thriller Trap as, “What if The Silence of the Lambs happened at a Taylor Swift concert?”


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 during an interview with Empire, Shyamalan revealed his pitch for the film is, “What if The Silence of the Lambs happened at a Taylor Swift concert?”

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.”

Shyamalan also revealed to Empire that Trap was inspired by Operation Flagship, “a 1985 plot in which several fugitives were offered free NFL tickets, and the chance to win an all-expenses-paid Super Bowl trip. Except, 100-odd hopefuls attended and discovered that it was a sting operation.” As Shyamalan explained, “It was hilarious. The cops were literally cheerleaders and mascots. These guys were dancing as they came in. And they were all caught. It was so twisted and funny.” But instead of making his movie funny, he aimed at making it very scary and Hitchcockian.

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.

Are you looking forward to Trap? What do you think of the “What if The Silence of the Lambs happened at a Taylor Swift concert?” pitch? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Trap Shyamalan

Source: Empire

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.