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Panic Room (2002)

Updated on June 30, 2020

Panic Room (2002) review

What an adrenaline rush! This movie was an incredible ride. Talk about being on the edge of your seat! I'm glad I watched this movie alone because I probably looked like a lunatic yelling at the screen and pacing around while watching this film. This is what the movie experience is all about! The writing was top notch and the camera work really made this movie something special. It’s rare to see the camera help tell a story to this extent; it was very engaging.

Panic Room (2002) was written by David Koepp and directed by David Fischer. It stars Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto and Dwight Yoakam. Meg Altman (Foster) and her daughter Sarah (Stewart) just moved into a four story townhouse in New York. They learn that the previous owner was a reclusive millionaire who installed a panic room in the house. On their first night there, three burglars break into their home and Meg and her daughter lock themselves in the panic room. But how long will they be safe when what the burglars are after is in the panic room with them?

This was a truly fun ride. It was non stop from beginning to end, and definitely caused some cringing and yelling on my part. The script was masterfully written - there was always something happening and it never slowed down. I know this because I often pause a movie at the halfway mark for a quick smoke, and I found it extremely difficult to find an appropriate time to pause it. That is a problem I don’t mind having. The camera work was beautiful to watch and the cuts between floors were very effective in telling the story. The cast was incredible too! Jodie Foster, Forest Whitaker and Jared Leto are seasoned pros and truly shine in this film, but also Kristen Stewart and Dwight Yoakam did a great job proving their talents at this point in their acting careers.

This was a great movie for people that like a great story with a huge side of anxiety. If your nails need trimming, you should watch this movie.

Production Trivia

  • The screenplay was inspired by news coverage in 2000 about how panic rooms were becoming prevalent among the wealthy living in urban areas.

  • This was David Fincher's fifth feature film, following Fight Club (1999).

  • The house and the panic room were built at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles, California and cost 6 million dollars to build.

  • Filmmakers used computer-generated imagery to create the illusion of the film camera moving through the house’s rooms.

  • The film cost 48 million dollars to produce and had a worldwide gross of 196.4 million dollars.

  • The film was produced at Columbia Pictures.
  • David Koepp sold the screenplay to Sony Pictures for 4 million dollars.
  • The film had its world premiere on March 18, 2002 and was commercially released in the US and Canada on March 29, 2002.

Kristen Stewart and Jodie Foster

Cast Trivia

  • Nicole Kidman was originally cast as Meg Altman, but she left after aggravating a previous injury to her knee that was inflicted during the filming of Moulin Rouge! (2001). Though she left the primary role, she has an un-credited off-screen role as a voice on the phone.
  • Jodie Foster became pregnant during the shooting schedule, so filming became suspended until she gave birth.
  • Jodie Foster was reportedly paid 12 million for her role.
  • Hayden Panettiere was originally cast to play Sarah Altman, but left the project toward the end of 2000 and the role was given to Kristen Stewart.

  • Panic Room (2002) was Stewart’s second feature film after The Safety of Objects (2001).
  • The role of Raoul (one of the burglars) was originally offered to Maynard James Keenan, whom Fincher had directed in a music video for A Perfect Circle’s “Judith”. Keenan was too busy as the lead singer for the band Tool, so the role was offered to Dwight Yoakam, a country singer who was known from his performance in Sling Blade (1996).


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