Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24

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Critic Reviews

  1. Mr. Showbiz
    Reviewed by: Kevin Maynard
    Unfolds like quietly engrossing short fiction, reminding us that there are few things more pleasurable than being in the hands of a good storyteller.
  2. 100
    Seeps with melancholy, old wounds, repressed anger, lust. That it is also caustically funny and heartwarming is miraculous.
  3. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    A handsome, absorbing debut feature by the fiction and television writer Henry Bromell.
  4. Anyone interested in serious film should absolutely not miss it.
  5. Baltimore Sun
    Reviewed by: Michael Sragow
    In the full-house ensemble of Henry Bromell's Panic, Neve Campbell is the wild card.
  6. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Robert K. Elder
    Graced by bleak, stylized direction and an insightful ending that suggests that nothing ever really ends, this first feature film by "Northern Exposure" and "Homicide" writer and producer Bromell is a promising debut.
  7. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Kim Morgan
    Panic never lets you forget that Donald Sutherland can be one of America's greatest actors.
  8. From the opening lines to the epilogue (one of the film's few misfires), this taut first feature from TV producer and novelist Henry Bromell sustains a taut mood of unease and isolation, and the ensemble performances (TV starlet Campbell's included) have the qualities of the highest-caliber stage work.
  9. 80
    A sneaky and smart film noir.
  10. 80
    Enigmas make Panic involving, and suspenseful.
  11. 80
    A small movie, to be sure, but it's also a thoroughly original one.
  12. Hopefully find the audience it deserves.
  13. Philadelphia Inquirer
    Reviewed by: Desmond Ryan
    A defiantly offbeat and accomplished piece with a dream ensemble acting out one man's nightmare, it deserves not to fall through the cracks.
  14. A small gem in the postholiday depression.
  15. Miami Herald
    Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    This bleak, oh-so-dark comedy is one of the best movies you almost didn't get to see.
  16. Not the kind of movie anyone will remember at Oscar time. But no one who sees it will forget it.
  17. A nifty little neo-film noir that's a lot more intriguing and watchable than half the films that make it to the multiplexes.
  18. A lot of this is quite well done, but Bromell has a tendency to have too schematic an aesthetic agenda for his story: treating film noir like kabuki is not necessarily the best way to go, no matter how beautifully you do it.
  19. 70
    Steeped in metaphor as it is, Panic offers a more naturalistic analysis of male midlife crisis than the grotesquely overpraised "American Beauty."
  20. 60
    This bright noir, with gleaming cinematography by Jeffrey Jur, is as single-minded as a short story, but the premise is almost too clever.
  21. The atmosphere is more compelling than the plot, but the story does pack a surprise or two.
  22. New York Post
    Reviewed by: Jonathan Foreman
    Boasts some genuinely intelligent and funny sequences and some nicely painful scenes of domestic tension - as well as surprisingly strong performances from actors like Neve Campbell and Donald Sutherland.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Dec 30, 2013
    Pretty good little movie here and an interesting character study. However, it is a tad too short and it feels as though it glosses over farPretty good little movie here and an interesting character study. However, it is a tad too short and it feels as though it glosses over far too many key issues that it should go more in-depth into. Ultimately, it is enjoyable and provides a few unexpected laughs. Full Review »
  2. Oct 22, 2013
    In the opening five minutes of 'Panic', we are introduced to three characters, we meet a therapist (John Ritter) going about his usualIn the opening five minutes of 'Panic', we are introduced to three characters, we meet a therapist (John Ritter) going about his usual patient routine, we meet a quirky and talkative girl in the waiting room of the same place called Sarah (Neve Campbell), these two have one thing in common, they interact with Alex (William H. Macy), a tightly wound middle-aged man who wants out of the family business, he openly tells his therapist that he gets paid to kill people, here we see a dark and witty approach at how the film will play out. Macy has been raised in the family business by his father (Donald Sutherland) who was a hitman, much like Alex, but Alex wants to move on with his life, he wants to stop lying to his wife and spend more time with his funny and curious son, Sammy (David Dorfman). Macy has the ability to bring a certain type of sadness to a role that reeks of unhappiness and humility, his talent for this has never been more apparent, he's still stuck in his fathers shadow and unable to tell him he wants out. The remarkable edge that 'Panic' has is its ability have so many themes rolled into a short film, Alex has a close relationship with his very inquisitive son, while also sharing a quirky friendship with Sarah, he doesn't know her, but seems to reap the benefits of her carefree attitude but average existence, finding hope in his own life again. The writing is sharp and often very funny, but only really if you catch it, it's blends so evenly with the sombre and downbeat story that its the characters who pass of the wit onscreen. It's immediately easy to feel sorry for Alex, his mother doesn't want him out of the business, his wife doesn't know about is real life as a killer, and Sarah has her own misfortunes to the point where these two intertwine. The film has the ability to lay everything out on the table, going head first into obvious plot points that it is quick to defuse, it's honest and forthright in its delivery, while also succeeding in character emotion and impact, Alex always seems to want to please his father, but not in what his father wants him to do. They are two very different people, Sutherland brings an eerie and unpredictable persona to his character, his actions are often villainous and his son does nothing about it, but Macy is observant, regretful and hesitant to show emotion. He lets his guard down when Sarah is around, who won't directly admit her feelings towards Alex. This is a surprising and easily likeable film for its cast, writing and easy going direction that lets the characters explore each others boundaries, Alex is always in a rut and tries so hard to get out of it, the only thing possibly able to shake it is a young girl. Full Review »
  3. JayH
    Aug 9, 2009
    Fine story, a little too slow moving, but the cast is great, particularly William H. Macy. Good writing. Barbara Bain is fine in a supporting role.