Trap: Release date, cast, plot theories & more

Trudie Graham
Trap release date: Josh Harnett as the dad in Trap.

The Trap release date will catapult moviegoers back into M. Night Shyamalan’s unique world. We’ve got spoiler-free cast and story details, and theories of our own.

With an intriguing pop-star concept and a recognizable leading man fronting the Trap cast, this isn’t an event we want to miss out on.

Described as an “experience”, Trap is the latest new movie from the iconic director. The controversial Split, its sequel Glass, and Knock at the Cabin had surprises in store and compelling ideas to boot

There’s bound to be lots to unpack when the Trap release date rolls around, so let’s get stuck into what Shyamalan has in store.

When is the Trap release date?

Trap releases in cinemas on Friday, August 9, 2024, in the US.

Josh Harnett in Trap.
The gig takes place in a large arena, soon surrounded by armored vehicles.

The UK gets it on the same day, on August 9.

Who’s in the Trap cast?

Josh Harnett stars in the Trap cast as a doting father, alongside Ariel Donoghue, and Saleka Shyamalan as Lady Raven.

The father and daughter duo take a selfie in the concert crown in Trap.
The father and daughter duo seem to have a great relationship.

Saleka is the stage name of M. Night’s eldest daughter, a real-life R&B singer-songwriter. This will be her screen-acting debut; when she’s up on stage as Lady Raven, you’re watching a legitimate performer.

Trap cast:

  • Josh Hartnett as Dad
  • Ariel Donoghue as Riley
  • Hayley Mills as Dr. Grant
  • Marnie McPhail as Jody’s Mom
  • Saleka Shyamalan as Lady Raven
  • Vanessa Smythe as Tour Manager

What’s the Trap plot?

Trap is a psychological thriller about a father and teen daughter attending a pop concert. When the feds roll up at the venue, the dad realizes they’re there to trap a killer (who might be him) inside.

The dad's security feed in Trap: a man is tied to a chair and crying.
Dad has a secret, and it’s much worse than an affair or off-shore bank account.

Harnett’s ‘girl dad’ seems lovely at first. Taking his daughter to a pop gig and sharing in her excitement paints a pretty picture.

However, when he sees armored cars outside and enquires about the strange atmosphere, a friend working at the venue tells him the police are there to trap the ‘butcher’, an infamous serial killer.

Alarmingly, the dad has a live feed on his phone hooked up to security cameras. On the feed is a man tied up to a chair, and the tonal shift is palpable.

So, we’re dealing with a venue full of teens trapped like fish in a barrel with a killer. The implication is Harnett is the bad guy. Whether that’s true or not, and to what extent his daughter is aware of things, will be revealed after the Trap release date. We don’t want any spoilers!

Is there a Trap trailer?

The first full Trap trailer was released on April 29, 2024, and you can watch it here.

Something that stood out to Swifties everywhere was one particular stage layout (timestamp 1:41) at the fictitious concert; it reminds us of Taylor Swift’s house stage design from her Eras tour.

Lady Raven looks like an amalgamation of popular female music artists, borrowing traits that make the daughter’s stan card believable.

Lady Raven's stage in Trap: A constructed house against a sky backdrop, with a piano placed in front.
Lady Raven’s stage for this leg of the show is aesthetically similar to Swift’s Lover era.

The trailer also shows off the movie’s rather gorgeous filmic look — the hazy texture of the cinematography compliments the sweaty atmosphere nicely.

We also get a good look at the plan to trap the killer inside with packed-in people, who are like sitting ducks. This does call the federal government’s decision-making into question, but we’ll roll with it for now.

What’s the twist in Trap?

The Trap trailer implied that the dad is the ‘butcher’ serial killer, but we think that’s a red herring, and there’s even a chance his daughter could be the criminal mastermind.

Federal agents posted outside the venue in Trap.
‘We’ve got you surrounded,’ is an understatement.

It’s reductive to boil down Shyamalan’s work to their twists, but the filmmaker is known for using them in his best movies to drive the point home.

The trailer paints the picture that Harnett’s character is the killer the feds have trapped in the concert arena, with him checking in on a kidnapped man through a security feed on his mobile phone in the venue’s bathroom stalls.

This could be Shyamalan subverting his trademark formula by showing his cards straight away. Or, it could be a misdirect, and Trap is hiding a bigger twist.

Our wildest theory? Maybe his sweet daughter has a thirst for blood, and as a loving father, he tempers it by helping her capture victims. It’s absurd, but we’ve visited the Old beach, so it wouldn’t be the most outlandish thing to happen in his films.

Is Trap connected to other M. Night Shyamalan movies?

There are no indicators Trap is connected to other movies like Glass, but the trailer did say it’s “in the world of M. Night Shyamalan.”

Josh Harnett as the dad in Trap.
Dad is going to leave this venue a scathing Yelp review if he’s the butcher.

That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s set in the same universe as Split and Unbreakable, although anything is possible.

Shyamalan connected the dots between those two films to make Glass, but his other projects have their own canon — we don’t think the aliens from Signs will be attending this gig, though we’d love to be wrong.

We hope you enjoy this chamber piece as much as we hope we will. In other news, you can find out about the choice they have to make in Knock at the Cabin or if Knock at the Cabin is based on a book.

Away from Shyamalan, check out the new movies streaming or our Abigail review.

About The Author

Trudie is a TV and Movies Evergreen Writer at Dexerto. She has years of experience in entertainment journalism, with bylines at The Digital Fix, Collider, PCGamesN, Zavvi, and more. She likes the weird and the wonderful more than anything, especially if it's sci-fi or fantasy.