Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
Watch On
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 75
    Acceptably diverting Saturday night at the movies, especially if you're willing to check your brains at the popcorn stand.
  5. Jodie Foster stars, and it's a pleasure, for once, to see her in something entertaining and mindless.
  6. 60
    A well-crafted exercise in urban paranoia that's so controlled it never achieves the reckless, visceral immediacy its subject matter demands.
  7. 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.
  8. 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?
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Works the basics with style and intelligence.
  12. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    60
    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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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."
  16. I was never bored but only occasionally interested.
  17. 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.
  18. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    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.
  19. 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.
  20. 83
    Richly frightening film.
  21. 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.
  22. An above-average thriller.
  23. 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.
  24. 50
    The kind of joyless, over-calculated hit that may leave viewers feeling not haunted but headachy.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    63
    Things move fast enough to make it a movie to enjoy and then forget.
  28. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    50
    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. 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]
  31. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    70
    A fairly standard exercise in claustrophobic menace. It is also an exercise in style.
  32. The cumulative effect is less thrilling than it is merely amusing.
  33. 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.
  34. 75
    Fincher has a dazzling command of visual storytelling.
  35. Reviewed by: David Grove
    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.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 183 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 55
  2. Negative: 5 out of 55
  1. Apr 4, 2014
    10
    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 3, 2014
    8
    One of the finest thrillers of her later career, Jodie Foster is exceptional in Panic Room. The film is fascinating beyond belief--and to thisOne 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 »
  3. Jun 8, 2014
    7
    Surprisingly entertaining little flick. Would recommend to anyone whose already seen the best in genre (as it doesn't quite reach thesesSurprisingly 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 »