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Panic Room (2002)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 181
Fresh: 138 | Rotten: 43

Elevated by Fincher's directorial talent and Foster's performance, Panic Room is a well-crafted, above-average thriller.


Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 10

Elevated by Fincher's directorial talent and Foster's performance, Panic Room is a well-crafted, above-average thriller.



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Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 233,202

My Rating

Movie Info

A well-regarded spec script by A-list screenwriter David Koepp became this stylish thriller from director David Fincher. Jodie Foster stars as Meg Altman, a single mother of an diabetic preteen daughter, Sarah (Kristen Stewart). Meg's going through an unhappy divorce that forces her and Sarah to move into a new home. They choose a deluxe New York brownstone that coincidentally boasts an unusual feature: a "panic room," a vault-like hidden space capable of literally sealing itself off from the


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

David Koepp

Sep 17, 2002


Sony Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (185) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (138) | Rotten (43) | DVD (44)

A thinking-man's women-in-jeopardy picture, Panic Room does about as much as humanly possible with its deliberately restricted one-setting premise.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Never averse to glistening darkness, meaty metaphor or grandiloquent technical display, Fincher is also surprisingly at home with hokum.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fincher mounts some clever, tense sequences in which the trio devises increasingly threatening strategies to force Meg and Sarah out of the panic room, only to be matched with improvised ingenuity from behind the vault door.

July 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's just no denying Fincher's gifts. Give the guy a camera or two or three, millions upon millions of dollars and state-of-the-art technologies, and there's no stopping him.

June 1, 2002 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

... one of the most ingenious and entertaining thrillers I've seen in quite a long time.

April 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Foster nails the role, giving a tight, focused performance illuminated by shards of feeling.

March 31, 2002
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Extreme suspense, graphic violence; not for kids.

December 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Valuing logic over brutality, David Fincher's claustrophobic ride also touted the real-world practicality of keeping quiet over the cinematic kicks of a loud thriller. It's like "Wait Until Dark" with helplessness that's emotional, not just physical.

September 17, 2010 Full Review Source:

Apart from one plot twist too many, "Panic Room" is a seamless suspense-thriller with a top-notch cast.

May 3, 2009 Full Review Source:

There are so little things you can do with this story and a lot of it is pretty contrived.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

David Fincher directs a nail-biter starring Jodie Foster about a mother and daughter who defend their house against a brutal home invasion.

July 2, 2008 Full Review Source: IGN Movies
IGN Movies

[Allows] Fincher to shine as the skilled, stylish director that he is.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

After his mind-bending, exhilarating Fight Club, director David Fincher takes on a more conventional Hollywood thriller.

March 3, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Ultimately, this is just a big, dumb, commercial suspenser - but it's one of the best for ages, reminding us that it is still possible to make a high quality piece of popcorn entertainment.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Fincher is such a technically brilliant director that he can elevate a genre film--a suspenser about a damsel-in-distress--above its melodramatic trappings. The confined space (whole movie is set within a house) is no big challenge for him.

October 5, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Panic Room is a very scary film, well made and lovingly dark, and it illustrates how terrified we are of becoming the victims we see on TV.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

The panic room itself is a provocative concept and it says something about modern society, but I'm not sure if it deserved its own movie.

May 18, 2005 Full Review Source: | Comment (1)

The rich in Panic Room are under siege, and the overgrown fortress of their self-indulgence seems helpless to defend itself.

December 6, 2004
Looking Closer

Director David Fincher stuffs the film with showy camerawork, including a trip into a keyhole, down drainpipes and through air vents.

June 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

... Further proof that Fincher is one of the cinema's true modern masters.

January 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)


January 7, 2004 Full Review Source:

Jodie Foster locks herself into a room for nearly an entire film... unfortunately, she probably should have done that prior to principal photography.

October 7, 2003 Full Review Source: EDGE Boston
EDGE Boston of the most taut and exciting thrillers to emerge out of Hollywood in a good long while.

May 26, 2003 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Panic Room is a thriller that deserves to be mentioned in the same category as a Rear Window.

May 13, 2003 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Panic Room

There‚(TM)s no getting out of ‚Panic Room‚?‚"not when you think, at least.

Review coming to on Wednesday, September 11, 2013
August 9, 2013

Super Reviewer

David Fincher pulls through with another crime thriller in Panic Room.Considering 99% of the story takes place in an apartment with a panic room, the film holds itself together for its entirety, which is just under 110 minutes. The plot holds a consistent level of intrigue with only 5 characters taking up the majority of screen time.For an R-rated movie, the amount of violence is held in check; however, when it does occur, it's easy to see why this picture is rated what it is. Watching a young Kristen Stewart drop the F-bomb is also a pleasant surprise.While Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart get the job done on one side, the combo of Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, and Dwight Yoakam are an amusing trio on the opposite side.When all the panicking is done, Panic Room ends up a solid sit through.
December 30, 2012
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer


If not part of David Fincher's darkly profound line of incredible films, Panic Room is still one of the most extraordinary, nail bitingly suspenseful Hollywood efforts in many years. There's about enough depth and development to invest in the protaganists that make them believeable enough, and especially enough for us to care for the horrifying situation that their stuck in. Jodie Foster suits her role perfectly and is consistently engaged, truly believing her character with a passionate performance. As does Kristen Stewart who honestly gives one of her most emotionally resonant and sympathetic performances to date. David Fincher takes every single opportunity for camerawork, capturing scenery from each and every angle of the tightly enclosed setting with a visual spark that is similar to that of Fight Club and Seven. Although boasting none of the depth of some of his previous features, it's proof that Fincher understands edge of your seat film making in the same way he is aware of the conventions of mainstream thriller cinema. The script is full of psychological trauma and is quite frightening to sit through in a way that truly makes you claustrophobic and panic. I was gripped and engrossed the whole way through, by the design, Fincher's flashy direction, the cinematography, and the simple storyline in which the talent behind and in front of the camera take every opportunity to create suspense out of the unoriginal story and raise the bar at the same time.
September 1, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Terrifc thriller with good performances direct by David Fincher, one of the best filmmakers of suspense.
July 28, 2012
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

    1. Sarah Altman: What are we doing?
    2. Meg Altman: I have no idea.
    – Submitted by Adam P (20 days ago)
    1. Junior: I can't go to jail man. I'm not built for that shit!
    – Submitted by Adam P (20 days ago)
    1. Meg Altman: What's that?
    2. Sarah Altman: S.O.S
    3. Meg Altman: Where'd you learn that?
    4. Sarah Altman: Titanic.
    – Submitted by Adam P (20 days ago)
    1. Sarah Altman: Get outta my house.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (8 months ago)
    1. Burnham: I spent the last 12 years of my life building rooms like this specifically to keep out people like us.
    – Submitted by Tim K (19 months ago)
View all quotes (5)

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