Is This Movie Just a Vehicle for M. Night Shyamalan’s Daughter’s Music Career?

The trailer for Trap arguably promotes Saleka (her stage name) more than the film itself.

Is This Movie Just a Vehicle for M. Night Shyamalan’s Daughter’s Music Career?

Oppenheimer achieved countless feats, from breaking box office records to sweeping awards season. Most important of all, though, the film prompted many (well, at least me) to consider (or reconsider) the talents of erstwhile Hollywood heartthrob Josh Hartnett. Those of us who still have aging copies of J-14 posters of Hartnett under our childhood bed have long wondered why the hell this man was confined to C and D-list films after 2007. Surely, he should’ve enjoyed a more illustrious career; have you seen Pearl Harbor? Fortunately, M. Night Shyamalan and I appear to be on the same page. Well, kind of.

When the trailer for Shyamalan’s latest film, Trap, dropped on Friday, I was instantly heartened by the sight of Hartnett as a devoted dad taking his teenage daughter to worship her favorite pop idol, “Lady Raven,” a superstar in the vein of Beyoncé or Taylor Swift who is on an arena tour that’s no doubt putting parents like him in debt. Together, Hartnett’s character and his daughter selfie, scream, and scoff down soft pretzels. It’s all very sweet until Hartnett’s character discovers an army of federal agents on the hunt for a serial killer known as the Butcher who, we’re told, “goes around just chopping people up.”

And just when you think Hartnett’s about to go all Taken and hunt this maniac down himself, it’s revealed that he is The Butcher. Now he’s got to find a way out of the arena without his daughter finding out her dear old dad is Ted Bundy.

While I respect that Shyamalan has made a film that will seemingly encourage me to root against law enforcement, I’m a little bummed by the fact that it will inevitably make me a pick-me for a serial murderer à la these weirdos. However, that’s not even the most irritating part…

At the trailer’s conclusion, the only character credited is Lady Raven, who’s portrayed by someone called Saleka. Saleka, if you were like most of the moving-going public, is Shyamalan’s daughter who is, apparently, an R&B singer. The 27-year-old appears to have one single album, Seance (2023), under her belt; and one of her singles, “Remain,” appeared on the soundtrack of Shyamalan’s last film, Old. There’s not even a website for the film listed at the end of the trailer, just a title card saying the film features “original songs from Saleka as Lady Raven.”

So…is this movie just a silly little vehicle for the career of Shyamalan’s nepo baby? Perhaps! Then again, if it happens to also play a role in the Hartnett-aissance (Josh-aissance?), I guess I’m in.

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