Let's Try And Guess M. Night Shyamalan's Big Trap Twist Just From Watching The New Trailer

 Cooper with his arm around daughter Riley in a concert crowd in M. Night Shyamalan's Trap. .
Credit: Warner Bros.

Of all the upcoming horror movies landing in theaters and on streaming in 2024, few come fully embedded with expectations in the way that M. Night Shyamalan’s Trap does. The serial killer thriller is the director’s follow-up to 2023’s polarizing Knock at the Cabin, though he did executive produce daughter Ishana Shyamalan’s woodsy thriller The Watchers in the meantime. The concert-set Trap sounds like a fairly straightforward high-concept premise on the surface, but its first trailer indicated a more complex game of cat and mouse will be on display.

Now we have the second full promo, which goes all in on showing audiences that Josh Hartnett’s seemingly happy daddy Cooper is the film’s illicit killer, a sorta-twist that the first trailer hinted at. So with that plot point made all the more obvious in trailer #2, seen below, one has to wonder what Trap’s actual twist(s?) will end up being. So join me below in taking a few possibly hyperbolic shots in the dark at guessing what M. Night Shyamalan has in store for us with his latest big screen “experience.”

Twisty Info We Know Already

  • There's a killer dubbed The Butcher on the loose, and Josh Hartnett's Cooper very much appears to be The Butcher.

  • The concert that Cooper and his daughter are attending is purportedly a massive police sting operation crafted specifically to catch The Butcher.

Both of those details seem like huge reveals for a movie that we didn't know squat about in the months leading up to the first trailer's release. However, it's easy to imagine that any other non-Shyamalan movie would have made those details clear from the jump, which makes it easier to contextualize those as not-entirely-spoilery reveals. Now from those presumable facts we jump into completely speculative territory!

Theory #1: Cooper's Daughter Is In On It

Considering we only for sure know two characters going into the movie, is it that much of a stretch to hypothesize that both of them have secrets? Riley's brief appearances make her seem so blissfully ignorant of her father's evil ways, which just makes me all the more suspicious. Her telling him "You're acting weird," could very well be just performative for all the people passing by. That moment is made to look like she catches him messing with the fire alarm, but there's no way of knowing if that's what actually plays out in the movie.

Theory #2: The Entire Venue Will Be Destroyed Just To Catch Cooper

The concert in Trap takes place in "Tanaka Arena," which is a redressed version of the real-life venue where the movie was filmed: Toronto's Rogers Centre. Why not set the film within a real-world arena with real-world iconography? There are no doubt plenty of reasons, but one might involve something that the real location wouldn't necessarily want to have its name attached to, such as a bombing or some other form of all-out destruction.

Theory #3: The Movie's Title Isn't Actually "Trap"

While I understand it would be a marketing nightmare to have a movie go all the way to release without its actual title being unveiled, but one of the most curious elements of the trailer and textual marketing is the way that pieces are missing from letters. It's most notable when the "T-R-A-P" pop up dramatically before the full title pops up at the end, but it's also prevalent in the middle when M. Night Shyamalan's name and past credits are shown. But why are there parts missing from some of these letters?

As far as I can tell, the shapes don't fit together to make a new word or anything, and the letters that are affected aren't an anagram of anything relevant. I'll easily cop to making an error along the way, but if that's all correct, then the only other outcome I can imagine is that the film's title Trap is also incomplete in some way, and that the true title will only be revealed while watching.

Theory #4: Some Kind Of Plot Point Revolves Around Concert Performer Lady Raven

Soon after Trap's trailer dropped, the sing Saleka (who is portraying Lady Raven in the film) posted news about her upcoming album, which is called Lady Raven and is essentially the movie's soundtrack. At 14 songs, it's definitely more of a legitimate project than curated jukebox soundtracks, and there would be no reason to put all that effort and connective work into making this a full-blown album unless Lady Raven and her music are intrinsic to the plot in a way that isn't just catchy background noise.

I'm also intrigued by Kid Cudi, who guests on the album, appears in the trailer wearing a blonde wig. I hope that character is more than just a background dancer, since the rapper is always fun to watch in scripted roles.

Theory #5: This Is All Just A VR Therapy Simulation

This seems as out there as can be, but has some possible justifications going for it. For one, characters are constantly looking directly into the camera, as if they're speaking to "the audience," rather than another character, and certain moments appear to be fully P.O.V. shots, which is a view gamers are well used to by now. As well, there's a prominent focus on people holding up cell phones and taking pictures/videos, with at least once happening the same kind of P.O.V. style. So while that may not indicate mobile gaming, specifically, it could be connected.

But the trailer also shows that the movie doesn't take place entirely within the arena, showing us different snippets of Cooper's life outside, and he very much looks like someone suffering from one or more mental disorders. Perhaps not on the same heightened level as what went down in Split, but not necessarily so removed from it, either. So we might as well theorize that this is some kind of Inception-style video game where Cooper is led to believe he's taking part in a real situation, but is really just incriminating himself for authorities.

Theory #6: It's A Sequel To The Sixth Sense

To be fair, this isn't really my own theory, but one posited by CinemaBlend's Ryan LaBee, who came away from the first trailer thinking that perhaps Trap is a stealth Sixth Sense sequel by way of someone involved with tracking Cooper at the concert potentially being helped along by one or more of The Butcher's victims. Put more clearly, by someone who sees dead people.

Obviously Haley Joel Osment hasn't been announced as part of Trap's cast, or else this theory would be the biggest one out there. But even if we don't see him return as an adult Cole using his haunting abilities in positive ways, there could be another character who also has the shine, as it were. Danny Torrence, as I live and breathe!

While none of these theories may end up coming true, I can't wait to see if any are even close when Trap hits the 2024 movie schedule on August 2.