Panic Room


Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36

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Critic Reviews

  1. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    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]
  2. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Ingeniously scary.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 83
    Richly frightening film.
  6. 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.
  7. 80
    A very scary film, well made and lovingly dark, and it illustrates how terrified we are of becoming the victims we see on TV.
  8. 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."
  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. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 75
    Acceptably diverting Saturday night at the movies, especially if you're willing to check your brains at the popcorn stand.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 75
    Fincher has a dazzling command of visual storytelling.
  18. New York Daily News
    Reviewed by: Jami Bernard
    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.
  19. Works the basics with style and intelligence.
  20. Jodie Foster stars, and it's a pleasure, for once, to see her in something entertaining and mindless.
  21. An above-average thriller.
  22. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    A fairly standard exercise in claustrophobic menace. It is also an exercise in style.
  23. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Things move fast enough to make it a movie to enjoy and then forget.
  24. 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.
  25. A well-crafted exercise in urban paranoia that's so controlled it never achieves the reckless, visceral immediacy its subject matter demands.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  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. Feels like a Fincher film: It possesses the same smarts, the same visual panache, the same violence. But not the same heart.
  30. I was never bored but only occasionally interested.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 356 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 56
  2. Negative: 5 out of 56
  1. Apr 4, 2014
    Panic Room is a near-perfect suspense thriller by Fincher. Every aspect of it is intelligent, and the product is a very successful film. ThePanic Room is a near-perfect suspense thriller by Fincher. Every aspect of it is intelligent, and the product is a very successful film. The movie benefits highly from the amazing cinematography. The camera pans the rooms, shows creative camera angles, and never misses an opportunity to produce amazing visuals. Fincher is the second master of suspense right next to Hitchcock himself, and knows how to keep us engaged and entertained throughout the film. The end result is a well-played, carefully executed, thrilling movie that never skips a beat. Full Review »
  2. Sep 1, 2015
    Director David Fincher elevates the suspense while the script by David Koepp (Mission: Impossible, Spider Man and Jurassic Park) keeps usDirector David Fincher elevates the suspense while the script by David Koepp (Mission: Impossible, Spider Man and Jurassic Park) keeps us interested into the characters and their survival and they manage to make an above average thriller, anyway their not the stars the person who really shines in the film is Jodi Foster. Fincher lets his actors fit into the characters and into the film's world, Foster shines as a heroine and so does Kristen Stewart under the direction of Mr. Fincher. It's gory alright but it's under ratted film, it's over the top and it's not extremely gore film like "Seven" or "Fight Club" but who cares really. Meg Altman (played by Jodi Foster) is divorced and cannot get over her cheating ex-husband pharmaceutical magnate Stephen Altman (Patrick Bauchau) - and their street wise pre-teen Sarah (Kristen Stewart) are spending their first night at in brownstone in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The conversions, which include an elevator and a secure panic room, while the previous owner built the panic room a wealthy recluse whose family is now fighting over the whereabouts of his vast estate. Meg doesn't know part of the estate - is 3$ million dollars is hidden in the floor in the panic room something that the burglars Burnham, Junior and Raoul know. Junior (Jared Leto) is the grandson of the previous owner, Burnham (Forest Whitaker) works for a security system that monitors the security system for the brownstone including the panic room and Raoul is hired by Junior to help him and Burnham on the plan. The three men plan on retrieving the money. But they don't know that the house is empty, the three men break into the brownstone but realize the house isn't empty as they believed. When all five people realize there are unexpected people in the house, Meg and Sarah make into the panic room safely, unfortunately the phone doesn't work which Burnham knows of course. Also he knows him and his criminal partners can't get into the panic room. Meg and Sarah are not leaving the panic room, while the three criminals aren't leaving til they get their money which is in the panic room. As Meg and Ryan try to get the message outside. Their working against time as Sarah is a diabetic who doesn't have insulin. While Meg and Sarah are trying to solve their problems, the three criminals are having trouble too, the three are differing personalities and having trouble with the motivations for the money, each of them are having thoughts about how far will they go to get the money. The film engages you and is a nail biter, after you watch this movie you'll be satisfied. Grade A Full Review »
  3. Feb 24, 2015
    David Fincher once again gives his viewers the feeling as though they are omnipotent as we look as a frighteningly realistic and heartDavid Fincher once again gives his viewers the feeling as though they are omnipotent as we look as a frighteningly realistic and heart stopping thriller. The performances are flawless, the direction is flawless, and the only flaw I have with it is a pretty basic plot and set up. And emotional and thrilling film. Full Review »