Trap: 8 Biggest Theories About M. Night Shyamalan’s Upcoming Killer Twist


  • Trap’s twist may not be what it seems – M. Night Shyamalan loves defying expectations in his stories.
  • The trailer hints at a typical cat-and-mouse plot, but Shyamalan is known for intricate surprises.
  • The narrative of Trap could be more complex than a serial killer story, with multiple hidden layers.

M. Night Shyamalan will likely deliver the unexpected with Trap‘s main twist, but it is still hard not to speculate how the film will shock audiences. Only little seems to be known about the plot details of M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming thriller, Trap. Even the film’s trailer strangely features a compelling twist that seemingly gives away what the whole movie could be about. However, since M. Night Shyamalan is known for defying expectations and presenting unforeseeable turns in his stories, it seems likely that there is more to Trap‘s story than meets the eye.

Trap‘s trailer even confirms that Josh Hartnett’s character is a serial killer who attends a concert with his daughter. However, he soon learns that federal agents are swarming the concert and have set it up as a trap to catch him. The details in the trailer make the Shyamalan movie look like a typical game of cat-and-mouse between a killer and law enforcers. Many, however, refuse to believe that an M. Night Shyamalan movie could be this simple. Therefore, the trailer’s release has spawned many intriguing theories, deducing how Shyamalan will subvert expectations and deliver one of his signature twists.


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8 Trap Is A Sequel To The Sixth Sense

Trap Could Include A Sixth Sense Character

In M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense, Kyra Collins’ ghost tells Cole that her mother was poisoning her before she passed away. She even informs him that her mother is doing the same to her sister and asks Cole to save her before it is too late. According to a theory, something similar could happen in Trap. The movie’s trailer reveals that Josh Hartnett’s character is a serial killer and even has one of his victims tied up in a room somewhere. It also discloses that federal agents have somehow learned about his deeds and have set up the concert as a trap to catch him.

Since Josh Hartnett’s “The Butcher” comes off as a meticulous killer who maintains a double life no one else knows about, it is hard not to question how the federal agents came to know he would attend the concert. This mystery has spawned an intriguing theory: a previous dead victim might have snitched on him. Like Kyra, one of The Butcher‘s previous victims talked to Cole Sear and made him report the serial killer’s identity to law enforcement. Federal agents are using the concert as a ploy to catch him red-handed.

The Sixth Sense

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, The Sixth Sense is a psychological thriller about a young boy who can see and communicate with ghosts. Bruce Willis as Dr. Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist who tries to help Cole, played by Haley Joel Osment, while grappling with his own personal demons. The movie features a twist ending that has become iconic in pop culture.

M. Night Shyamalan

Release Date
August 6, 1999

M. Night Shyamalan

Bruce Willis , Toni Collette , Haley Joel Osment , Olivia Williams , Donnie Wahlberg

$40 Million

7 The Man In The Security Camera Is The Real Butcher

The Victim May Be The Real Killer

Since M. Night Shyamalan’s movies always have the most unexpected twists, the details from the trailer cannot be trusted. Therefore, instead of assuming that Josh Hartnett’s character is the real serial killer, it would be fair to assume that even the guy in the security camera video on his phone could be The Butcher. Josh Hartnett’s character could actually be a vigilante of sorts who has captured the killer and is on a mission to serve him radical justice. This theory, however, seems a little implausible because a twist revealing the victim as the killer would be a little too cliché and predictable.


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6 The Butcher’s Daughter Is A Vampire

Hartnett’s Character Kills For His Daughter

In the 2008 Swedish horror movie Let The Right One In, a young vampire’s caretaker kills people to harvest blood for her. M. Night Shyamalan’s Trap could introduce a similar twist where Josh Hartnett’s character is killing people only to keep his daughter alive. Or, his daughter is probably a vampire and a killer, and Hartnett’s character has taken it upon himself to protect her from legal consequences. Considering how M. Night Shyamalan has hinted that the film is inspired by his close bond with his own daughters, this plot development and twist would make a lot of sense in the movie.

M. Night Shyamalan’s daughter, Ishana Night Shyamalan, will make her directorial debut with
The Watcher
, which is scheduled to be released on June 7, 2024.

Interestingly, this theory could also connect the movie to the Unbreakable Universe, which merges the supernatural with psychological horror by introducing morally complex super-powered characters. Like the superhero and supervillain characters in the Unbreakable trilogy, Hartnett’s daughter could also be a supernatural individual. If this franchise connection holds true, Trap‘s success could eventually pave the way for a full-fledged M. Night Shyamalan cinematic universe, even though Glass, the third film in the Unbreakable trilogy, received poor critical ratings.

Unbreakable Universe Movie

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score










5 The Federal Agents Are Chasing A Different Killer

The Butcher Is In The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time

Another theory speculates that maybe Josh Hartnett’s “The Butcher” is not the serial killer the federal agents are after. They are, perhaps, looking for someone else, and Hartnett’s character has only assumed they are after him. If he is not the actual serial killer they are chasing, the real one is also probably present at the concert. This twist would add a new layer of complexity and even dark comedy to the movie’s overarching storyline. However, executing this twist in a way that is both exciting and narratively significant may be a little challenging.

is scheduled to be released in theaters on August 9, 2024.

4 The Daughter Is The Informant

The Butcher’s Own Daughter Snitched On Him

Another possibility, as theories suggest, is that The Butcher’s own daughter reported his crimes to law enforcement. After somehow learning about her father’s deeds, the daughter probably took it upon herself to bring her father justice. This would explain how the federal agents knew he would attend the concert. Since they could not merely arrest Josh Hartnett’s character based on the word of a young girl, they decided to set up a full-fledged concert they knew he would attend with his daughter. However, since, as the trailer suggests, The Butcher comes to know about the plan, he might eventually learn about his daughter’s betrayal as well.


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3 The Real Killer Is Another Member Of The Protagonist’s Family

The Mother Is The Real Butcher

Other than drawing speculations surrounding the characters from Trap‘s trailer, some theories also suggest that the real killer has not been revealed yet. Since the movie’s trailer or plot synopsis does not confirm whether Josh Hartnett’s character is a single father, there is a slight possibility that his wife is The Butcher. He is aware of her actions but is merely an accomplice in her crimes. Since he does not want the federal agents to catch his wife, he is probably willing to divert suspicion onto himself by assuming the serial killer’s persona.

2 Trap Is More Than A Typical Serial Killer Cat-And-Mouse Story

The Film’s Real Narrative Ties Into The Central Concert

M. Night Shyamalan revealed that Trap walks through every stage of its central concert (via Cinemablend), suggesting that the movie will play out in real-time. This little detail about the film could also mean that the serial killer narrative is a mere distraction from what is actually unfolding. Just like The Sixth Sense effectively hides the truth behind Bruce Willis’ character in plain sight, Trap must be doing something similar by diverting audiences away from the actual focus of the story.

1 The Titular Trap Has Been Set By Josh Hartnett’s Character

The Movie’s Title Itself Can Have Multiple Meanings

From the movie’s trailer, it is hard not to assume that the title refers to the trap set by the federal agents to catch The Butcher. However, maybe, Josh Hartnett’s character has set up a trap of his own, and luring federal agents to the concert was part of his own meticulous scheme. He probably told them that the serial killer would show up at the concert only to control them and divert their attention away from his true underlying intentions. Regardless of what the final twist turns out to be, it is good to see that M. Night Shyamalan is back to taking risks and leveraging his strengths with Trap.


Trap is a film by writer-director M. Night Shyamalan under his Blinding Edge Pictures label. The film is part of a deal struck with Warner Bros for him to direct and produce several films under their banner. 

M. Night Shyamalan

Release Date
August 9, 2024

Blinding Edge Pictures , New Line Cinema

Warner Bros. Pictures , New Line Cinema

M. Night Shyamalan

Josh Hartnett , Hayley Mills , Marnie McPhail , Vanessa Smythe , Saleka Shyamalan , Malik Jubal , Jonathan Langdon , Peter D’Souza , Ty Pravong , Kaitlyn Dallan