Movie Review

Panic Room

It Was Supposed To Be The Safest Room In The House.
Panic Room Movie Poster

US Release Date: 03-29-2002

Directed by: David Fincher


  • Jodie Foster
  • Meg Altman
  • Kristen Stewart
  • Sarah Altman
  • Forest Whitaker
  • Burnham
  • Jared Leto
  • Junior
  • Dwight Yoakam
  • Raoul
Average Stars:
Reviewed on: March 31st, 2002
Kristen Stewart and Jodie Foster in Panic Room.

Kristen Stewart and Jodie Foster in Panic Room.

Jodie Foster, recently separated from her husband, and daughter move into a beautiful upper-west side brownstone equipped with a secret 'panic room'. Which is a fortified cubicle designed to keep residents safe in the event of a break in. What they don't know is that a hidden fortune is in this room and on their very first night in the place three would be burglars arrive to get it.

This incredibly simple plot is completely formulaic and predictable. The villains are familiar stereotype's. There's the funny one, the kindhearted one and the psychotic one. Through it all Jodie Foster keeps her game face on and Kristen Stewart matches her scene for scene as her daughter. Although never completely riveting they manage to elevate Panic Room to a more entertaining level than the story really deserves.

The direction by David Fincher of Seven and Fight Club fame is not particularly inspired but he does create some amazing camera shots which track from room to room of the apartment seemingly passing through walls and floors.

For fans of Jodie Foster or people who just want a good thrill this movie comes recommended. Just don't expect anything more than that.

Reviewed on: April 3rd, 2002
Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart in Panic Room.

Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart in Panic Room.

A panic room is a fortified room inside your house where you can barricade yourself in to be safe from home invaders. In the movie The Panic Room, what the home invaders want is something that is hidden within the panic room itself. So picture yourself locked in a vault while bank robbers try to get in.

Jodi Foster and her sexually ambiguous daughter are trapped inside as three dumb criminals try to get in. When someone pitched this movie idea to Foster I wonder if she ever thought to ask "and then what happens?" Cause folks that is it.

Okay, she has to run out to get her daughter's syringes. She has an intercom that she uses once to have a conversation with the burglars. She never even asks them what it is they want. What they do want is a fortune in bonds. Bonds that are not even hers. So she is not even the one being robbed. Technically if she gave them what they wanted the only crime committed against her was breaking and entry.

The movie is practically filmed in black and white. There is very little color to speak of. The director seemed to have fun with camera movements and transitions to the next scene. Good camera work and direction do not solely make a movie entertaining. Something has to frigging happen.

There could have been some character development. Foster's recently divorced mom could have been a meek, weak person who develops some independence through this ordeal. Some revenge could have been exacted onto the father for having an affair. Nothing happens. This is bad movie of the week material. Jodi Foster chose this role for whatever reason. Perhaps next time she could pick a role because it might entertain someone.

Reviewed on: August 30th, 2003
Kristen Stewart and Forest Whitaker in Panic Room.

Kristen Stewart and Forest Whitaker in Panic Room.

Panic Room is a one act story stretched out into a full length movie. It's more of a concept than a story. Events happen, but there are no arcs or lessons or changes that happen to any of the characters. It is also filled with contrived tension and features several plot holes.

Patrick is right when he says that there are some amazing camera shots in this movie. The camera does indeed pass through walls, floors, and even seems to pass through the handle of a coffee pot. However Eric is even more correct when he points out that no amount of camera work is going to make a movie entertaining. During its seemingly endles length though, anything to distract you from the lack of story or plot is welcome.

There is also one very enormous plot hole in this film and several small ones. I'll just point out the large one. At one point in the movie, Jodi Foster's character takes a chance and runs out of the panic room to grab her cell phone. She is able to do this because via the security cameras, they are able to monitor when the robbers are in the bedroom near the door to the panic room. Unfortunately, the panic room's walls prevent a signal from getting through. Several times through out the rest of the movie the robbers are a long way away from the panic room door. Why doesn't she open the door and call the police then? If the robbers were to return she would have plenty of warning via the cameras. Instead, the cell phone is forgotten. Since the whole point of the movie is that you have to accept that she and her daughter are trapped in their own home with no way to communicate with the outside world, once you realize that she could in fact call someone, but doesn't, the movie kind of falls apart.

Maybe this movie was supposed to be a Die Hard for the soccer mom, but whatever its intent was, the result is just plain bad.