Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 145 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A newly divorced mother (Foster) and her young daughter are caught in a cat-and-mouse game with three intruders who break into their New York apartment searching for a hidden cache of cash.
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. 83
    Richly frightening film.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Things move fast enough to make it a movie to enjoy and then forget.
  6. 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.
  7. The cumulative effect is less thrilling than it is merely amusing.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 51
  2. Negative: 5 out of 51
  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. 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. Expand
  2. MarshallM.
    Oct 29, 2005
    Amazingly intelligent! one of my favorites! muss -see!!!
  3. AlexB.
    Dec 29, 2005
    I love the idea of this movie as much as the movie itself. If you like Audrey Hepburn's film "Wait Until Dark," you will love Panic Room. It is very much like an updated version of that classic. Many people found that this movie wasn't thrilling enough and if you start watching it expecting a jump-out-of-your-seat thriller you will not be satisfied either. My advice for enjoying this movie the way it was meant to be, is to just sit back and put yourself in the situation and not expect startling experiances. Love this movie; it's one of my favorites! Expand
  4. Jake
    Dec 14, 2005
    Fincher just never seems to be able to make the transition from a good director to a great director....oh well, this is pretty damn good movie, very suspensful at parts, and contradicting what Pat said, pretty memorable in my mind at least. But when it comes down to it, it's pure entertainment.....there's not much susptance to the idea, and there could have been (maybe had M. Night written the screenplay) but what the film does well, it does very well. Expand
  5. 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) Expand
  6. Jan 11, 2014
    In slasher flicks like Scream (1996), break-ins are single scenes. Heist flicks like The Bank Job (2008) or The Score (2001) spend most of the films planning out the break-ins, and then only a scene or two actually carrying them out. So the fact that aside from the very beginning, Panic Room is just really one long break-in scene always made the film seem like a silly waste of time. I mean, it gives the whole plot away right in the title. A couple of thieves arrive and tear up the place, the family hides, problems occur. Hurray.

    The coincidence of everything just-so-happening to be available at the exact right time: the happenstance of the break-in coinciding with the idea that the house just so happens to contain a panic room, this seems too much to handle.

    Yet all the mighty forces align and provide the viewer with an experience that is actually quite satisfying. Although not an overly complicated plot, the script is very well written and includes explanations for exactly why these happenings occur as they do.

    For skeptic viewers like me, who usually find unexplainable exceptional coincidences a deal breakers, David Keopp’s logical, explanatory script (Jurassic Park, Mission Impossible) provides answers, and an excellent foundation for David Fincher to build his dark mess. (IMDB says Keopp got 4 million bucks for the script, so….).

    Seemingly, this film takes the primal fear of invasion, bad people coming into our homes in the night and doing bad things to us. But rather than exploit the concept a has been beaten to death, Panic Room does not rely on the traditional fear of invasion. It adds dimension, reason, even a kind of logic explaining how this whole event could have turned out right for everyone, if only it could have unfolded just a single day earlier.

    It is in considering the film’s simplicity that the profound difficulty of this film’s production is most realized. The decision for the director and crew to call “that’s a wrap” must have been murky one.

    Unlike any of Fincher’s other films, Panic Room is shot entirely on only one set, in linear time, and deals with only with a single event. It is minimal in its approach, like a play. It is essentially all based on the interaction of the actors stage together, almost.

    Forest Whitacker, Jodie Foster and even Dwight Yoakam all crank out great performances, but Fincher’s dark, perfectly influential shots, using unusual angles, intercoms and video cameras, small vs. open spaces, and of course, darkness and rain are what make this cinema, and not theater. Aligning open frames with great musical peaks, the score by Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings) intensifies the single track plot of Panic Room, pushing it along as a series of arcs, suspensefully running up and down, each arc increasing in intensity, until the film hits the peak, and even though we knew all along what was coming, we are still very satisfied with when it finally does.
  7. ChadS.
    Apr 13, 2002
    "Panic Room" fails to generate the suspense required to work an audience over because the intruders needed to be more menacing. Jarod Leto's character is too feeble. Forest Whitaker's character might feel at home with a flick like "Hope Floats". Only Dwight Yoakam's character is capable of killing the hostages.... The movie doesn't need criminals with feelings. And that is why "Panic Room" is just an exercise in genre and a time-killer. Collapse

See all 51 User Reviews