I Talked To M. Night Shyamalan About Setting A Horror Movie At A Pop Singer’s Show, And As A Frequent Concertgoer, I’m Intrigued

 Josh Harnett at concert in Trap.
Josh Harnett at concert in Trap.

The first look at M. Night Shyamalan’s latest movie, Trap, is here and this time around the legendary filmmaker is setting a horror movie at a pop singer’s stadium concert. As the first Trap trailer unveils, the flick will follow a father and daughter attending a massive show for fictional artist Lady Raven. But as the sneak peek reveals, the whole concert is actually a “trap” to catch an infamous serial killer, who seems to be none other than the father we start the film following. When CinemaBlend spoke to the filmmaker about Trap, he shared insights into the movie’s unique setting.

I’m a frequent concertgoer who loves the experience of seeing my favorite musicians live in person. So when I had the chance to speak to M. Night Shyamalan in Los Angeles on Monday about his project on the 2024 movie schedule, we talked about how the setting uniquely informs the horror movie. In his words:

The format of the movie is we're going to do every step of a concert. How do you arrive? What does the artist do before the thing? The meet and greet, the going to the stadium, the opening band, the first song, the surprise performance, da da da. You keep on going through the thing, all the way through to the end. And so it gave a real structure to it.

As Shyamalan teased, the entirety of Trap will take place during the events of a pop singer’s concert and go beat by beat through the different elements of shows like these. This even includes those highly-coveted surprise performances, which Taylor Swift’s viral Eras Tour is particularly famous for. Check out the trailer here:

In terms of the pop singer hitting the stage in Trap, his own daughter Saleka Shyamalan plays a fictional artist Lady Raven. As M. Night Shyamalan continued:

Really, it was an opportunity for Saleka to be this fictional character, like she did on Servant, where she did some fictional writing through another character. I found her voice very, very honest and pure when she was pretending to be somebody else, which as I was saying is maybe a purer way for us to be ourselves. I can be more honest with you when I was getting Cooper in the movie being a serial killer, I can tell you something about myself, the vulnerability of something. Or maybe that I'm not sure if I'm good. Like that of thing you can't do directly as a human being and they can do that in the songwriting and so forth.

Saleka is the eldest daughter of M. Night Shyamalan and a classically trained musician who has opened for acts like Boys II Men, Baby Rose, Summer Walker and Giveon. She released her debut album Seance in 2022 and made some music for AppleTV+’s Servant, which had its finale last spring. Ahead of my quick chat with Shyamalan, I attended Warner Bros. “Summer of Shyamalan” event where the filmmaker spoke further about the inception of Trap.

The writer/director shared that he and Saleka had been itching to work together in a larger capacity for some time. He explained:

We're huge fans of Purple Rain. So, I was like, gosh, somebody aiming an album at a narrative structure where the song is actually part of the story and fusing these two worlds together, it doesn't happen very often if ever, as opposed to a song playing over a montage or something like that the characters are actually going and experiencing that thing. So we started talking about, ‘hey, we should think of something because this is one house where you could write the album and we can make the movie.’ And so one day I got this idea and I said, oh my gosh, I got this idea. I have to do this. It takes place in a concert and then I thought for a bit, I didn't know exactly the point of view of how to do it. And then one day I was like, what if I did it from that angle?

Shyamalan is famous for his twists, and this time around he has brought the twist to us in the trailer itself. It certainly has us curious where the movie set at a concert will go from there! Color me intrigued about how M. Night Shyamalan's concert horror movie will fuse the experience of going to see a pop singer with his famed storytelling techniques.

Trap hits theaters on August 9. Check out what other upcoming horror movies are coming out throughout 2024 and beyond here on CinemaBlend.