Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. 90
    An old-house thriller retrofitted for the 21st century without any touch of unneeded flash, Panic Room is scary enough to do for downtown living what Jaws did for beaches.
  2. 90
    There is something horribly apt in the way Fincher closes the drama in joyless exhaustion, leaving you certain that there will be a sequel to these events, not onscreen but in someone's home, tonight. [8 April 2002, p. 95]
  3. 88
    Fincher eschews quick cuts in favor of long, leisurely ones. He knows what he's doing, and the proof is in the result. The suspense in Panic Room never ebbs, and that makes for a thoroughly entertaining -- if somewhat exhausting -- 108 minutes.
  4. 83
    Richly frightening film.
  5. Reviewed by: David Grove
    A very scary film, well made and lovingly dark, and it illustrates how terrified we are of becoming the victims we see on TV.
  6. 80
    Always adept at hitting emotional cues cleanly, Foster in this role also lets herself get lost in the moment, which is something she hasn't often allowed herself to do since "The Silence of the Lambs."
  7. 80
    Panic Room is Fincher's high-style testament to the cool things movies can do to make us jump out of our seats in the dark.
  8. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Smartly plotted, convincingly acted and brilliantly executed technically, this engrossing thriller adds some clever modern wrinkles to the time-tested formula of sinister intruders threatening innocents in their home.
  9. The movie, which suggests a combination of "Wait Until Dark" and "Rear Window," not only takes your breath away on an aesthetic level, it eloquently evokes the mother's and daughter's vulnerability.
  10. 75
    The movie resembles a chess game; the board and all of the pieces are in full view, both sides know the rules, and the winner will simply be the better strategist.
  11. 75
    Fincher has a dazzling command of visual storytelling.
  12. 75
    It's pure popcorn entertainment, and it's pure formula, too: It's already been described, somewhat derisively, as Home Alone for grown-ups, which is not entirely off the mark.
  13. May actually appeal more to women than men because of the steely heroine, the pitting of love of family against love of filthy lucre -- and the mom-fights-back plot.
  14. 75
    Acceptably diverting Saturday night at the movies, especially if you're willing to check your brains at the popcorn stand.
  15. Works the basics with style and intelligence.
  16. Jodie Foster stars, and it's a pleasure, for once, to see her in something entertaining and mindless.
  17. Generally makes good on its promise. There are shivers to be felt, especially in the early stages, and there's fun to be had, including the post-movie pleasure of detecting the soft spots in the plot. The result is an always-watchable picture from a director capable of more.
  18. Defies logic, the laws of physics and almost anyone's willingness to believe in it. But darned if it doesn't also keep us riveted to our seats.
  19. Well-paced, well-structured nail-biter with precious little of the usual Hollywood nonsense, several virtuoso sequences, and a camera flourish that only occasionally gets silly.
  20. An above-average thriller.
  21. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    A fairly standard exercise in claustrophobic menace. It is also an exercise in style.
  22. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Things move fast enough to make it a movie to enjoy and then forget.
  23. 60
    A well-crafted exercise in urban paranoia that's so controlled it never achieves the reckless, visceral immediacy its subject matter demands.
  24. What's surprising about this traditional thriller, moderately successful but not completely satisfying, is exactly how genteel and unsurprising the execution turns out to be.
  25. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Panic Room is fluidly made, and it keeps the audience quiet and unpleasantly gripped. But the only surprise is the absence of surprise; that trap is in too-plain view.
  26. Soon enough a pointed ode to New York City nerve-rack and survival skills dissolves into a far more average, less compelling, and sometimes just slapdash-vicious cat-and-mouse game.
  27. Foster is fine, but the story's outcome would seem a tad more uncertain if another actress had the part. How scary are three New York tough guys when you've handled Hannibal Lecter in your time?
  28. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Might give you a few decorating ideas if you happen to have been wondering about a home bomb shelter, but it's a thriller that doesn't thrill.
  29. 50
    The kind of joyless, over-calculated hit that may leave viewers feeling not haunted but headachy.
  30. Feels like a Fincher film: It possesses the same smarts, the same visual panache, the same violence. But not the same heart.
  31. I was never bored but only occasionally interested.
  32. 40
    Might be entertaining for those who like seeing a terrified teenage girl watch a loved one get beaten to a pulp while she slides into a diabetic coma. For the rest of us it's both stagnant and vaguely unpleasant.
  33. It's difficult to work up a strong case of the heebie-jeebies when you keep getting thrown out of the movie by all the atrocious acting.
  34. 40
    Like the shelter for which it is named, Panic Room is an efficiently tooled construction (albeit one whose success is overly predicated on its villains' single-minded idiocy). But unlike the eponymous treasure trove, there's nothing inside.
  35. The cumulative effect is less thrilling than it is merely amusing.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 126 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 53
  2. Negative: 5 out of 53
  1. Sep 3, 2014
    One of the finest thrillers of her later career, Jodie Foster is exceptional in Panic Room. The film is fascinating beyond belief--and to this day, remains one of my go-to thrillers. Full Review »
  2. Jun 8, 2014
    Surprisingly entertaining little flick. Would recommend to anyone whose already seen the best in genre (as it doesn't quite reach theses heights) but it a gripping, suspense-laden movie. Full Review »
  3. Apr 20, 2014
    This is a good thriller movie.There is one problem where is the action?It's all in the end and when they run away from the room.The best point in the movie is the cast(Forest Whitaker,Jodie Foster,Jared Leto) Full Review »